To say our weekend at the CA Firefighter Memorial Ceremony was filled with many emotions would be an understatement. From anxiousness and overwhelming sadness and anger, to feeling grateful and hopeful for our future. Most important, I feel like Eric has finally been laid to rest. His name will forever live on this wall of honor as someone who selflessly gave his life while saving others with no distinction of how he died. Only how he lived.
I’m again reassured that we are not alone in the loss of our husband, father, son, brother and friend. Support comes in so many forms and I’m honestly grateful to be able to experience this side of humanity during my lifetime. Not only was the support and honor for Eric but for two other firefighters who also lost their battle with post-traumatic stress. Seeing this leaves me hopeful that it’s a sign that the burden of stigma is finally being relieved and the mental health of our first responders will ultimately take priority over the thin veil of ego. CA Governor Gavin Newsom along with his wife Jennifer and President of California Professional Firefighters Brian Rice specifically acknowledged the mental burden that the job placed on our spouses and I was able to have conversations with them about Eric and what more needs to be done.
Overall, I’m feeling closure. I think that’s what ceremonies and rituals are ultimately designed for. It’s time for me to create a new chapter for myself. One that Eric would be proud of but one that is written specifically for me.
To learn more about the CA Firefighter Memorial and the work being done by the California Fire Foundation to support mental health visit https://www.cafirefoundation.org/programs/california-firefighters-memorial/