A favorite day at Sugarloaf United Methodist Church Preschool is the Fire Truck Visit Day. Over the past four years, I’ve usually shown up to take pictures, because the kids love it so much and the weather is beautiful in early October here. This year, I was hoping to catch a few pictures of AJ with the fire truck and firefighters, because of the special role that a few of them played in saving his life back in February.
A week or so after AJ had his first seizure and was rushed to Children’s Hospital, I asked my mom to call the fire department and ask for the names of the three firemen that were with us that day. All I got were last names: Long, Layton, and Keough. I had no clue who was who- I know there was the guy who drove (that was completely annoyed with me, I’m sure, or at least he acted like it, as I freaked out and begged him to go go go and he seemed to go too slow for me. “Are you going to go faster? What about the lights and siren???” I’m sure he appreciated all of my suggestions as I was desperate, thinking my son was dying or dead on the other side of the ambulance partition behind me.) And there was the blue-eyed young man whose face peeked through the little square hole in the partition to ask me questions and give me updates. He was kind. And there was another fireman in the back too, he spoke with my husband once we got to the hospital and seemed to be the lead guy.
But on this Fire Truck Visit Day, I wasn’t sure if I hoped I’d see those men or if I wished that I didn’t see them. When I saw two firemen doing the demonstration for Logan’s class when I arrived, I felt relieved – those were definitely not the guys from that day. I took pictures, changed lenses, and took some more. I walked around the back of the truck and there was another firefighter taking off his full fire-gear – helmet, big coat, oxygen tank….And there I saw at the bottom on his big coat: Keough. My internal freak-out began and I was luckily wearing sunglasses. I kinda stared at him, wondering which one he was, and I knew he wasn’t the blond/blue-eyed one. It was strange to me that I didn’t immediately recognize him. But all of that was such a blur now.
He joined up with his colleagues and posed for pictures with the kids. I got one of Kinsley standing next to him – that just happened naturally. I was in awe of that moment, even though I didn’t get a great picture, but just seeing them together and knowing that this man was critical to our family’s story and to her life, really. That without her brother, her life would never be the same, and he played a role in that. That his name has been uttered in prayer hundreds of times in the past nine months. How cool for him to go through life, walking past, standing next to, rubbing elbows with people that you’ve impacted by saving their lives? And not even be aware of it. It’s been a couple days and my memories confirm that he was the driver that day – yup, the guy who was totally irritated by my dramatics. I get it. My husband has no time for my freak-outs either. I also recall asking him, “Do you have children?” And he answered “yes.”
Part of me wanted to walk up to him and say something. I didn’t muster up the nerve though. I also found out that I missed AJ’s class….I wondered if the firefighter recognized this little boy. I think had AJ’s class been out there, perhaps I would have figured out how to ask for a picture of the two of them. But I was such a mess! I was crying and even stopped in the office on my way out and spoke to a couple gals and kinda lost it. That’s ok though, it was the most scary, awful thing that’s ever happened to me, so I forgive myself for that 🙂 But I am so happy I have this picture of him and Kinsley – one of three men that saved our lives. I could not have survived losing my son, so I am very grateful that he saved my life that day too.
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