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My Heart is Tired
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My heart is tired from so much death. The deaths of good friends I’ve known, some of them all of my life. My heart is tired from seeing their beautiful young smiling faces in their youth and knowing now that they are gone. My heart has been tired for a long, long time. PTSD. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder they call it. From the many years I worked as a firefighter, 38 years, in fact. I saw so much death and damage to people, from babies to the elderly. I spent quite a few years in therapy dealing with early PTSD in my life. Then another 11 years of trauma therapy for for the experiences I had on the job when I retired. I prided myself to work at the busiest fire stations my whole career. Then in the last few years of my career, I began to look back and see the damage it had on me and my heart. Not to mention my psyche. I woke up this morning thinking about many of my friends and great coworkers who are gone now. I was looking at photos of them on Facebook this morning when I awoke and saw quite a few friends who were so active and alive and functioning and happy then, but are gone now. It’s understandable why people ask what’s it all about? As a Buddhist, I am learning to live moment to moment and not think about the past or the future. But sometimes it does strike me nonetheless. I want this pain to go away, but I know it’s come upon me for a reason. Whether it’s a good reason or not, I won’t judge. My heart is certainly tired. I know if my heart is tired, there are many, many people whose hearts are tired as well. So many of us clunk along in this life, stamping our feet one foot in front of the other, alone as we move along our path. If we’re lucky, I guess we’ll live to a long life, like I have so far. Although I have nearly lost my life more than once, I am still here. What does that mean? I can’t really make any sense of it. I guess I probably I never will. And I’m not really required to. There’s certainly no test at the end of it to see how much we learned or how well we did. Living every minute at its finest is our only responsibility to ourselves. Making sure to stay present every minute we’re here. Certainly, we’re all flawed human beings who have many faults in this life as we go along. But there are some of those, like me, for instance, who hope that every minute will be a good minute. Whatever that means. So many questions without answers. I guess that’s life in a nutshell. I feel like I’m rambling but that’s what I do when I follow a prompt anyway, isn’t it? I’ll try to practice metta today and send myself a good dose of loving kindness.


I don’t know anything about your work, but you have a really grounded way of talking about PTSD. I suspect some of your specific stories would go a long way to humanize PTSD and put on a pedestal as superheroes. I think these kind of stories are important to help people understand what “trauma-informed” looks like, probably more important for people working through trauma than your everyday reader–but there are large-scale traumas where I think there would be a broader interest. That’s my roundabout way of saying thank you for posting this!

Thank you, Carlo for your comments here. I feel the same. I’m giving that some thought, to find a way to do that for others.

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