I just came home from the funeral of Firefighter Engineer Cory Iverson, of Cal Fire San Diego Unit. A grieving widow, with one little one and pregnant with daughter number two, standing alone in front of a screen full of pictures and memories, holding a helmet in her lap.
And everyone in the audience had probably been in that church just 37 days ago for Fire Captain Ryan Mitchell, who committed suicide by jumping off the Pine Valley bridge, leaving behind a 2 year old son and a beloved dog, a wife that was struggling with him, and a girlfriend who was too.
It’s too much to manage, too much to lose and too much to imagine how he died. But everyone in that room wearing a uniform knew how he died, no matter what the facts are revealed to be. In the end, he was overcome, burned and died on that mountain as it exploded around them. His surviving crew are encapsulated in grief and loss.
That could have been anyone.
They sat there, wondering what it would be like if the service had been for them, or how they would feel if they were her, saying goodbye to their partner. It is a humbling and awful span of time, to sit there and know that, at the end of the day, there are no guarantees.
The pastor told them all to go home and love on their people. Don’t be careless with your words or your disagreements or your issues.
Because, on this day, the day before Christmas starts, everything is different.
Rest in peace, Cory.
Well done, good and faithful servant.