Chapter 1: Grief responses to suffering and death

Being human

I apologized for my tears when their son died. They told me they saw my tears as a sign of caring, not a sign of weakness. Knowing their son mattered to me helped them. ~ Canadian paramedic

It’s normal to be affected by a difficult call. It’s to be expected that human suffering will impact you. This can include:

  • A patient’s physical symptoms. 

  • A patient’s existential distress.

  • A family’s reaction to dying and death.

After all, you’re a human being before you’re a paramedic. To be affected by loss is to be human and the impact isn’t restricted to family and friends. It’s okay for patients and families to know their lives and deaths matter to you.


Conversation Prompts

I’m moved by what happened here today and how difficult this has been for you.