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I’m fully aware that not all agencies use the same Ten-Codes.
I don’t know them all, just the ones that are frequently used here.
10-79 is the absolute worst to me.

Two days ago I was watching tv with my husband. We all know that even when most firefighters are off, they are really never OFF. The radio sometimes still plays low in the background. This particular day was a busy day for our county, as med units were having to come from the North end to the South end for a call. CPR in progress on a man who wasn’t nearly old enough to be dying. More radio traffic…

I hate radio traffic.
I just hate it.

It was minutes before the first units arrived on scene.
It wasn’t long after that, the 10-79 came. Now. This is where is it too real for me. I’m not in the world of saving lives, it came bursting into my life uninvited. I started dating a volunteer firefighter, who I didn’t really think would ever become a career FF/EMT. Uninvited didn’t mean unwelcomed. I’m not strong enough to be a nurse and take care of the ill. I’m not emotionally capable of not letting my emotions come spewing out. I can’t stop them. As much as I have tried in my life to bury this, it always comes out.

em·pa·thy ˈempəTHē
1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Honestly, I lived a long time feeling like it was a curse. I can remember going back to 7th grade. A teacher had a party at his house, a kid friendly school type party, and accidentally backed over another teacher’s child on the way to take someone home. I’d never laid eyes on the child, never had either teacher, but as soon as my homeroom teacher began telling us what had happened, I lost it. I tear up now thinking about her mentioning the crib and toys that would never be played with again.

I find myself saying “I can’t imagine how that must feel.” a lot. The truth is, I do imagine what it feels like. I do feel like I have the same emotions wash over me as people are really feeling. I have mourned the loss of more people that I have never met than people in my own life. I still do this, today. I hate it some days, but would I really be me if I wasn’t like this? There are those who say that they are sorry… and then there are those who FEEL they are sorry.

Back to the code, 10-79. I felt so very sorry.
Ten seventy-nine. It means, notify the coroner.
The coroner. In that moment, I pictured the wife giving out doing CPR before help arrived because it’s tough work. I imagined her grieving instantly. I felt like my husband had died in that very moment, I was a widow with a to-do list that was long and dark. He was too young and it pissed me off and broke my heart. There is family to notify. There were people there to help, but you can’t just will someone to live. Meanwhile, life all around them is going on, but the coroner is on the way for that one.

I’m not made for this, or am I? Where would this so-called gift be useful?