I'm always struck by how fragile people are. Does it make me love the ones I love even more? It does. I'm with friends for our usual Sunday night dinner. Each an individual. Each a separate entity. Each as fragile and breakable as every patient I've ever seen. I look at them and watch them as if I am savoring their life and vitality with my eyes.

I truly believe that working in EMS has made me cherish everyone so much more. I rejoice in every sign of life I see in every person. Children, adults, family, friends and strangers. I find myself watching people breathe. I check brachial pulses on children when I hold them. I listen to their breaths. I marvel at how delicate things like humans remain so vital and live so long.

The images that stay with me are not the eviscerations, the 2 month-old waterlogged corpses or the flat-eyed stares of the recently dead. The images that really stay are the pulse in the neck, the smiles and flushed faces of the happy, the belly laughs and the clear signs of life among the living.

In the car, on the way home, I thanked her for marrying me and said, "I love you."

She acted surprised. She doesn't know how deeply I am grateful and how deeply I love her.


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