On December 8, 2011, the Worcester Fire Department in Massachusetts suffered the loss of one of its own, Firefighter Jon Davies..just days after the anniversary of its cold storage building fire from December of 1999, in which 6 other brave men lost their lives. He died after he and his partner went back into a burning building in search of someone they believed was still in danger. They ran back in ... when everyone else was running out.
I think of these things in a much more intimate manner these days, as one of my best friends in the world is a firefighter. I think this one hit very close to home for him, as Worcester is a place very near and dear to his heart. It is never, ever an easy thing, saying goodbye to a brother firefighter. My heart aches with his, and I know it does, because we've all been together a really long time and I know him well. I knew him before he was a hero, and he was my hero even then, because of the way he loves his wife (and my closest friend), his parents, his children, and yes now ... the brothers who stand beside him every day.
It's easy to glorify what these men and women do. I guess I believe that's okay and we probably really should. But I know Rob would tell you, it isn't glamorous. It's grueling work, that often tears apart emotions and it is work for which you consistently have to reach in and find an unnameable thing inside of you that you didn't even know you had. He doesn't talk about it, but I know he has seen things I will never see in my entire lifetime and he surely wouldn't want me to.
I try on occasion to tell him what he means to me. To tell him how much I love both he and his wife who have been our dearest friends for more than twenty years. I close my eyes and I see so many scenes from our journey together ... meals shared, games played, trouble avoided while being goofy 20 something year old kids who thought the world was our playground until officers of the law let us know we weren't so invincible.;-) I hear him reciting poetry that he wrote as a teenager and nailing the lyrics of any song you ever hummed to him. I see him on the dance floor, laughing with my brother and behind the wheel of his truck when I called him crying to come and pick me up from my latest tragedy and he came without question. I watched the tears drip down his face and listened to his wife tell him she loved him as his second son came into the world and I got to hold him within those first precious seconds. And I can clearly still feel his joy, when I told him that I was finally pregnant after years of trying... with my first son, who is his son's best friend to this day, even as they approach the age we were when we first met. So many memories. So much love.
There's never been any doubt in my mind that if I was in trouble, he'd be the first one running in, even if everyone else was running out. I've known for a long time, that nothing I ever do, could separate me from the love of my friends. Frankie ... I can't write this tribute to him, without also writing it to you, because being the wife of a firefighter holds it's own challenges and you are very strong. I am so very proud to call you both my friends ... two of the biggest heroes in my life. Today, I stand with you in honoring and celebrating the life of Jon Davies, but I want you to know, there is no one I honor and celebrate as much as you two.