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There are many reasons to become a paramedic. It can be because of the flashing lights and blaring sirens, wearing a badge/ uniform, to save lives or even because you want to help people. But when I think back to the motivation I got to where I am and the reason behind it I can only think of one common factor, my mom, as I’ve spent my whole life watching her.
I’ve watched her be a teacher every night as she helped me with my homework, a counsellor when it came to stopping arguments between my brother and I while delivering generations-old wisdoms about the importance of family and helping other’s succeed. But her main role, ironically looking back, was a self proclaimed paramedic-fixing bumps and bruises using homemade remedies and rendering the physical and emotional wounds with a simple, ‘Everything is going to be all right.’ My mom helped me grow while religiously following life’s golden rules: Do the right thing and treat others the way the way you want to be treated. In this way, she became my hero before I even really knew what a hero was, as she was never afraid to speak her mind to anyone who was doing the wrong thing. I admired that most about her- her willingness to be upfront but fair and without causing confrontation.
In life’s cruel way we spend years watching the people who raised us knocking down any obstacles that dare stand in their way. They become our undisputed champions, our tireless cheerleaders and the undefeated repairmen of our problems. Until the day comes when life deals a hand even they can’t win. And the person, the superhero you thought was indestructible, is broken.
It started small at first. She seemed sick only every other month and patiently, I waited for her usual warming words of, ‘Everything is going to be all right.’ But this time, those words never came. Every doctor’s visit, every checkup, I asked all the right questions the way she taught all of us to. And in relaying the doctor’s latest findings, I felt the same strength and tenderness of a mother caring for a sick child that she showed to so many of us. She had a terminal illness. But like I watched her do so many times before, I never gave up hope and through it all, our roles never completely reversed. She was still my mother, and I was still her child. Yet with the strength she gave me as a child, I was able to take care of us both.
Looking back, but completely unaware at the time, I can recall every healthcare professional that I’ve encountered or have had the pleasure of watching my mom interact with. The support system they provided for my family couldn’t change the circumstance but provided an unexplainable sense of comfort reminding me of the core values my mom tried embedding in me since childhood and that’s why I want to become a paramedic- you get the chance to have that kind of impact. There’s a chance to take the most painful human existence and make it less so. Make it more bearable. Give help and hope when no one else can. Showing up when no one else will come. Whether I make a difference by curing someone’s illness or injuries, relieving their pain, or comforting them on their way out, it doesn’t matter. Because of me, someone’s worst day will be a little bit better as someone once unknowingly at the time did for me.
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