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A FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY

My husband used to serve with the RCMP, and we were posted in Alberta. I worked for the Department of Justice as a court clerk and my husband was a member with the local detachment. It was there that we found some of the most beautiful and incredible people who served the greater community of G.P. and who remain our lifelong friends.

One year we decided to serve Christmas dinner to the watch who would be on duty Christmas Day and evening. We wanted to give back to the people who chose to put their life on the line for us, sounds like a crazy statement but it’s what people in service do.

As Christmas approached, I handed out invitations to members I came across at work, some I knew and some I didn’t. They were surprised and grateful to receive the invitation, I also asked members to spread the word at the detachment and let members know where the turkey dinner would be if someone had a few extra minutes between calls.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would show up, but we had a house full, patrol cars would literally park along the street and members would come and go, some stayed for a quick bite while others would take their meal on the road. It was a busy evening and those who spent Christmas evening with us filled our home with laughter as well as some tears. It was one of my favorite evenings and I forgot about the people I missed back east, maybe that was my gift from the Creator, he took away my sadness when giving to others.

I remember standing in the kitchen and shedding a few tears of joy and gratitude. I was grateful that we could provide something as simple as a meal to someone who was working on a day no one wanted to work. The crew on shift was comprised of newbies and long-standing lifers, the mix was to ensure the newbies would have the experience available if things went south.

The reality of a Christmas shift for those in “service” is that the holidays is the time when people are the saddest, loneliest, and most vulnerable. Most domestic disputes and assaults take place during the holiday, people indulge in too many drinks and people think they are invincible, so getting behind the wheel seems like a great idea. The people, humans, who are called to the scene after the fact are your police officers, firefighters, hospital staff and clergy folk. They are the ones who show up first and take care of the humans involved.

These humans who become all the things I just referred to have made the choice to be there because they got into the business of serving their community. Yes, there are some people who shouldn’t be in that line of work, but many of those people have chosen to make the world a better place. I take my hat off to them, sit in awe of their abilities, and hug my dear friends who wear a uniform because they do the job that nobody else wants to do.

You don’t normally call first responders when things are going great; they show up when times are tough and those who show up must be tough for everyone else. Being tough requires you to express zero emotion, zero loss of control, and there is zero room for feelings. Everyone else gets to feel what’s happening but those in service are not able to do those things, they must do their job and sometimes that job is crappy.

Having to hold in those feelings and control emotions has an impact on our humans who take up the career of service. They must deal with the aftereffects of the decisions we make, and it’s usually done in silence. They too find the holidays sad, depressing, and lonely because that’s all they see in their life of service, and they chose to do this despite the emotional, physical, and mental impact it has on them.

This year as we walk into the holiday season, please remember those that serve our community. If you’re able, grab a box of coffee for your local detachment. Leave a box of chocolates in the lobby of the detachment with a note that simply says, ‘thanks for doing the job not everyone is cut out to do.’

And if you’re not able to do that, think about the decisions you make and ask yourself if you would want to be the first to arrive at the scene. Would you want your child, parent, loved one, or friend to be the one who must clean things up?

I suspect not, but if something goes south this Christmas, that is out of your control, please respect the human who shows up on scene. We are all human and deserve to be treated with love, respect, and kindness.

To all the humans in service this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I send my deepest respect and sincerest gratitude. I pray that you will all be safe and that the Creator will walk and watch over you. I hope that your shift will be quiet because that means your services are not required.

If you need a Turkey dinner while on shift after 3pm ask your Chief for my address and our family will ensure you have a meal on Christmas Day.

Wela’lioq (Thank you)

Wli Nipi-Alasutma (Happy Midnight Prayer)

Thank you & Merry Christmas 

 

Oh…. Santa still hasn’t responded to my letter, but I’m still hopeful!

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