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Tips for the Wife of a Firefighter - To Fight Off Worry

I have been a wife of a firefighter for over thirteen years. I adore my husband. He is my best friend and my favorite person to hang out with. Not only do I have a husband who is a firefighter I also have a father-in-law who is a firefighter. He is supposed to be retired and is, but many of them never really retire. He still dabbles as a firefighter/paramedic at his small town fire department. I love my father-in-law. He has become my father. I am not close at all with my biological parents, so losing my father-in-law would be heart breaking.

The duty schedule that firefighters have to keep, unfortunately also keeps them away from home more than the average working adult. Sometimes they are just not able to communicate with their families as well as they (or we) might prefer. Over the years I have heard the worries and concerns of wives for their husband or fiancé working in a high stress, dangerous job. I get it. It can be very scary. Being a wife of a first responder is not easy. We know the reality that life can be short and everyday counts.

The thing is I have had the call early in our marriage that my husband has been hurt in the line of duty. What happened was a civilian “did not see” all of the cars pulled over to the side of the road (a long line of cars). He also claims that he did not hear the sirens. Seriously?!! When the medic was carefully pulling out of the station the car hit them. My husband ended up getting hit in the head and the guys (the other firefighters) took him to the hospital to get checked out. He was alright just a little beat up with a headache. During this time, his relatives who have been a firefighter family for years were so supportive. It was amazing how his only sister, his only brother and his firefighter father all called me individually to check to make sure I was alright. My husband laughs and jokes about how they didn’t call him that quickly. They knew he was being taken care of and in good hands. It was me who was going to need looked after with love and compassion.

Being a wife of a first responder is not easy.
We know the reality that life can be short and everyday counts.

In my life I have seen people I care about who have died in situations that did not make sense to me. I have been to the funeral for my cousin who died his senior year in high school. I have known people who have worked in civilian jobs who have died in their early twenties. I have also watched my mother-in-law die several years ago after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for nine years. My father-in-law (again, who is a firefighter) took care of her and did not leave her side until the moment she took her last breath. There are no guarantees for anyone.

I am a natural thinker and I am very analytical. That is what makes me good at being a health coach. However, when it comes to being a wife of a firefighter it can be challenging. I have learned over the years to shut off the worry. It is not easy and it does take practice. I do not do this because I don’t care, just the opposite. I tend to care too much. That is why I have worked at this way of coping. In this article I am including three tips that I would like to share with you today.

  1. Find something that you are passionate about. It could be a fun job, starting your own business, volunteer work, taking a class or having a hobby that you enjoy. Distraction can be very useful. 
  2. Another thing that may help is saying a prayer. There are no guarantees but praying for his safety and asking God to comfort you may help to ease your fears.   
  3. The last thing I am going to mention today is to know that you are not alone. You have sisters who are wives of firefighters throughout the world who care about you. Keep in touch with us.  There can be so much strength in being a part of a community who gets it, and we do get it!

I don’t have all of the answers. What I do know is that being a firefighter is more than a career for many of them, it is a lifestyle. It is not only a lifestyle for our husbands, but also for us. Whether you are a long time firefighter wife, a newbie or soon to be married to a firefighter there is one thing to remember… you are family!      

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