9. Lights and Sirens

Lights and Sirens

I see those lights flashing
in the mirrors
eyes on the road
gotta steer.
Drowning out the siren with music,
Just saving lives-
the time passes by-
but you never end up knowing
if those lives kept on going.
Pick em up
and drop em off.
Next – Harborview’s our stop.
The Space Needle
the only space I can feel
when that DOME OF LIGHT
Creates a cave during the night.
I can’t see the stars,
becomes bleak and I feel starved.
I start to stare down at my feet.
The next patient’s bleeding
on the cracked concrete.

2004 (1)
2004 -Me from the helipad at Harborview, after an airlift call, overlooking the city of Seattle.


I knew that I was going to grow up and work on an ambulance, just like in my heart, I knew I was a writer.  I was always afraid to tell someone that I wanted to be a writer, however…because back when I was ten, excited to write the story of Eli…

“What are YOU going to do, when you grow up?”  My Aunt Kyle said.  I love my Aunt Kyle, she always scared me…but I loved her.  I thought she was beautiful, and strong and athletic…I remember wanting to be like her.

“I want to be a writer!”  I said.

But her answer, sadly, was, something that scared me from sharing anything for a long long time… and it contributed to my problem of “shy.”  Being silenced did not come from only one direction…it was a multi-faceted process.  It is what I was taught to do and be.  It was in a world where “children are better seen and not heard” and you “never want to bother anyone with your feelings or what is happening, you don’t want to cast your troubles on someone else or make them think poorly of you.  Always hide behind a smile.”

“What could you POSSIBLY have to say that anyone would want to hear?”  She asked.

I wanted to tell her my story about Eli!  But suddenly I felt stupid, and I agreed.  What did I have to say?  Now that I’m not ten anymore?  I have a lot to say, it would turn out.

My Aunt Kyle with my lil cousin Erik, my mother in the background, and Uncle Warren hiding behind Grandma’s shoulder, Christmas 1980, in Eglon WA.

I love my Aunt Kyle.  She is an athlete, and she is a musician.  She is very talented, and I imagine her childhood was fueled with negative re-enforcement, or something of a very competitive nature, because she was competitive.  I got a little bit of my fight from my aunt Kyle.  She invested in sports for us to play together, and that was special for me.  I learned of sportsmanship, both good and bad, Kyle is feisty like me…and I learned how to be a strong woman.  Not that I didn’t learn strength from my own mother as well…it was a different sort…

I imagine, in my heart, my Aunt Kyle is probably a writer…but nobody ever encouraged her.  I would LOVE to read her story.  I bet she has so much to say.  I would love to know her better.  When I look aback on things, I am sad that I don’t know more about who my grandmother was.  What I would have given to read her journals…this is why I’m going to NOT throw mine away.  This is why I hope my Aunt Kyle, who is healing after a major health issue, is writing her heart out right now.

My mother is like I am, or, more correctly stated:  I am much like my  mother.  I was warmed by her shelves of life documenting.  It must be an inherited trait…I like to think it’s something in our DNA put there as a protective measure against some family curses, should Dementia or some such strike…proof…even if we forget…at one point, and one time, this is what my account has been.  I was here.  This has not been for nothing!

My mother’s story is amazing!  I like to call her the ORIGINAL CYCLE BREAKER.

2003 (107)(1)
Seattle sunrise from Beacon Hill after the night shift on a pre-spring morning.

My mother is who planted the seed of ‘lights and sirens’ in my little head, when I was about eight years old, holding her hand at a crosswalk getting ready to ride the bus in one of my first trips across the ferry into the City.  We had visited the Woodland Park Zoo.  Seattle was mesmerizing and so different than what I was used to in the country on the other side of the water.  It’s amazing what difference just a ferry ride can bring to a landscape.

A firetruck and ambulance roared through the intersection, so loud I remember it hurting my ear drums.  It was so exciting!  I was in awe of how everyone around me worked with these loud oversized vehicles, to get out of the way so that they could go help someone.  My mom nudged me as they rounded through and around a corner in Seattle’s hap havoc labyrinth of roads.  “I can see you do something like that some day.”  My mom said.  And so could I!

I like my lights and sirens seed.  I’m keeping that one.  I was an EMT and firefighter LONG before I ever got paid for it, and I always will be, long after that state certificate expired.  I worked with (she was a nurse) and FOUGHT WITH (MMA TEAMMATE -not brawling…she is also a warrior) a woman named Amy Montenegro….she once commented that MMA helped her with what she experienced at work.  You should follow Amy’s her family’s careers!  They are a family of warriors and fun to watch.  We were the only two girls, she in scrubs, me in my uniform, that would frequently show up to work with black eyes back in the day!  – I can agree with this.  It is important to have an outlet in this life!  What is yours?


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