Each morning I roll out of bed, still mostly asleep, and get dressed in the dark and wife will wake up just enough to notice I’m leaving. Somewhere in the back of her mind is the remote chance this is the last time we’ll speak to one another, but in the front of her mind is the hope that I’ll reset the coffee maker before I leave.
She has always offered some kind of goodbye usually including the natural “I love you” which was, is and always will be followed by an immediate reply, but I noticed a few years ago my response to her next sentence has changed.
“I love you. Be safe,” is what her sleepy lips send my way and I used to respond “I love you, I will.”
I can’t remember when I stopped telling my wife I would be safe at work, but for the last few years I just haven’t. It has been replaced with “I’ll do my best.”
Maybe it was the few times I was nearly hit responding to a call, while wrestling a combative patient or arranging for quarantine for a known communicable disease from overseas, but it changed.
No one will come to my funeral and tell the wife “You know he told you he’d be safe, he lied!” but it just no longer feels right to tell her I’ll be safe. The best I can do is remind her that I’ll be thinking of my family first as I go through my day of dealing with the unknown and should something happen, I did my best.
Do you have a ritual goodbye before your shift? Has it changed over the years?