Bad news comes in twos: for those who have to hear it and those who have to deliver it. These Redditors shared the worst information they’ve ever had to relay to another person. From the heart-crushing break-ups to the irreplaceable losses, we now understand why “don’t shoot the messenger” had to become a common saying. Get ready for these gripping stories of the hardest pieces of news people have ever had to break.
1. The Bearer of Bad News
When I was 22, my parents asked me to come home and watch my grandma, who had dementia and needed a caregiver, while they went to visit my brother who was living out of the country. Two days in, my grandma died in her sleep. Not only did I have to deal with being the person who found my grandma dead by myself, but I then had to call all of my various family members, (parents, aunts, brothers) to let them know what happened.
2. Bad News Comes in Twos
I had to tell my wife that our eight-year-old son had died in the night. He was on hospice, and it was expected, but that was still hard. Then I had to phone my older children and tell them. Thursday will mark two years. Professionally, I had to tell the parents of a 20-year-old basketball star that his drug use did not account for his unusual thoughts and behaviors and that he was, in fact, psychotic and likely schizophrenic.
3. It’s the Connections You Miss
My brother, who was active military at the time, had to be granted emergency leave for my mother who was on her deathbed after a short but destructive battle with cancer. They took more than 24 hours to sign one name on that document to release him, even knowing the circumstances. When he became noticeably upset that they were taking their time with it they pulled him aside and threatened to make him undergo a psych evaluation for being (understandably) angry.
She died while he was on his flight home. I had to tell him over the phone that he missed the passing of our mom and he wouldn’t ever be able to say goodbye. That was rough.
4. Sometimes You Have to Hear It From a Sister
When my grandmother passed, we knew it was coming as she had been ill for a very long time. I was at home with my mom when my aunt called with the news that she was gone. My younger sister was at school so we went to pick her up, when she was called to the office and she saw us there I think a part of her knew why we came to pick her up, but that didn’t make it easier to tell her.
5. The Deadliest Game
One Sunday at church, I was walking my baby outside when one of my best friends’ mom came up to me. She was in hunting attire and looked to be in complete shock. She told me her husband (my friend’s dad) had just fallen out of his tree stand and broken his neck and died, and she asked me to go get her daughter out of church to let her know.
It was one of the worst days of my life.
6. Your Paternal License Has Been Suspended
Having to tell a very close friend she can no longer live with me since she is an abusive parent to her son, and that I was the one who called CPS. Her son was taken away and full custody was given to the father. She has not spoken to me since, obviously. From her Facebook, she got married and has a relationship with her son. I never doubted her love for him, but she needed help.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
7. A Mother’s Pain
At nine years old, telling my mom there were two army officers waiting for her at the door—they were here to tell her my brother hadn’t survived the ambush in Iraq he got into the night before…I didn’t know why they were at our door in the first place because I was so young, but in retrospect, that was the hardest thing because in a way I told her my brother had died.
Now I know why she didn’t want to answer the door.
8. To Serve and Protect
Darn, I really don’t want to tell this story it makes me cry every time I tell it. I’ll change some info for obvious reasons…So, I’m a Police Officer and I get a call to go to a house and meet with a father who states that his daughter, aged 12, wants to commit suicide. My first thought is what 12-year-old knows what suicide is?
Dad is crying and explains that his wife died, and he has sole custody of his daughter. He moved back in with his parents after his wife passed away a few years earlier. They provided support for him, low rent, free sitting, etc. He sends me upstairs. I am met by this small blonde 12-year-old girl whose room is in the attic. She has a mattress, a bureau, a skateboard and song lyric written all over the walls and ceiling.
She won’t talk to me. I mean why would she? I’m 6’1” 235 lbs. and blocking her doorway. I ask her if I can have a seat. I want to give her some power, so she feels some measure of control. She says yes. Instead of sitting in a chair or on the mattress I sat on the floor. She is instantly a little taller than me now. I saw her shoulders relax.
I see the lyrics from “Wait and Bleed” by Slipknot on the wall, so I bring it up. She looks at me as if to suggest how the hell do you know that. Then I comment on the trucks on her skateboard. I had a pal that owned a skate shop, so I knew a tiny bit. After that, she started talking and the tears flowed from this little girl.
Almost upon just moving into the house dad had to work crazy hours to make ends meet. Her Grandmother would pick her up from the bus stop and then she’d stay with them each day until after dinner. She says, “My grandfather makes me have sex with him. Everyday.” I’m crushed. She says, “My grandmother sometimes holds me down.” “They warned me not to say anything, but I can’t tell my dad. I just want to die.”
I begin to tell her that it’s not her fault, that her grandparents are clearly very sick. That if she can’t tell her dad, that I can, and I can make her grandparents go away. The hardest thing I ever had to do was walk downstairs and tell that poor man that his father and mother had been raping his baby girl for years.
He had three sisters that, upon turning 18, all left the state. He hadn’t spoken to them or seen them in years. He contacted them immediately and learned that his father had raped all three of his sisters as well. I physically had to hold him up at this point. I contacted my Sgt. and another officer, and we were able to make the arrests.
This state is different now and we don’t get to lock someone up right away like that anymore. Of course, I’m shortening the investigation for the sake of the readers. Grandfather is still in jail, Grandma died almost immediately after her release. I begged dad to get her and himself into therapy ASAP. Fast forward five years and I get a call at the station from dad. “Hey, can you come by the house?” My first question is “Is she ok?” He says be here around 4:30 PM.
I arrive and dad shakes my hand and pulls me in for a hug. He yells upstairs to his little girl that I am there (he calls me by my name). I hear hurried footsteps and I am witness to an angel in flight. This little girl is now seventeen and in a sunflower yellow dress comes flying down the stairs and gives me to best hug I’ve ever had. She is going to her senior prom! (And yes, I’m crying as I write this).
I met her date, talked to her, and got closure on this initially horrific story. I said my goodbyes then. I’ve never seen or heard from her again, but I’ll never forget her as long as I live.
Thank you for reading this.
9. No Early Checkouts
“I’m doing everything I can, Sir.” I work at a gun range. Almost 21 weeks ago, we had a guy commit suicide in front of his dad. As soon as I knew, I sprinted downstairs and started doing what I knew to do (I know basic first aid and my brain is pretty quick in high pressure) immediately. Apply pressure to the wounds (it was through and through his head) and keep him from choking on his blood.
The absolute worst part was his dad sitting there, begging me to save him. I’m not a paramedic, but that’s all I could say. “I’m doing everything I can, Sir.” I didn’t even know what else to say. It’s not a moment where you can just talk. It’s hard to explain.
10. Stand By Her (Lousy Excuse for a) Man
Not me but I had to watch my stepsister tell my stepmom that my dad was sending her very inappropriate text messages. I watched a daughter completely destroy her mother’s world and have to still be there for her daughter. A few days later my stepmom seemed to have blocked the whole thing out and essentially pick my dad over her daughter. That’s when I realized I hate them.
Even worse, I was the one who told her to rat on him.
11. You Deserve to Know
Telling two friends of mine that the girl they were seeing was cheating on them with each other. She was a friend of my girlfriend, so when I found out that she was stringing both of them along while each of them thought the relationship was exclusive, I had to let them know. I was cheated on before and only found out because someone was looking out for and told me the truth while she was going around my back, so I felt I had to pay that forward.
Still didn’t make it any easier because I know how hard it is to hear that.
12. Say Woof!
I had to call my girlfriend’s parents who were on a cross-country trip to tell them I was at the vet’s putting their dog down. We were not on good terms before then. Then I had to lie to my girlfriend when she called to see how her childhood dog was doing. She’s a nurse and had just started her new job working overnights.
That was a rough night. We got married eventually though.
13. Cut This Family Tree Off at the Roots
When I left my abusive ex having to tell his family that I was leaving, and I was taking the baby. My mother-in-law is weird, and we haven’t always got along, but she’s always loved me and my child. Telling her that there’s a good chance she’ll never see her grandbaby again. Especially if she chooses her own son over us.
I could see the heartbreak.
14. You’ll Always Make the Team in My Heart
I was asked to co-coach a competitive traveling baseball team of 10-year-old boys (my son included). We had a tryout and would have to cut about seven boys. I saw right away that my son would not be on the team unless I was the coach. We had two days of tryouts and after the first day my son gets in the truck and tells me that it was the most fun he had ever had playing baseball, and he can’t wait to spend the summer hanging out with his friends and me.
I had to tell my son right then and there, with all the hope and excitement in his eyes, that he was not good enough to play on the team. It was the right thing to do, but that didn’t make me or him feel any better. Cutting your own kid from the team you are supposed to coach makes you feel like a jerk. I resigned as coach and spent that summer practicing (his request) every day after work.
The next year he made the team, was selected as an All-Star of the league and led his team in batting. I’ll never forget that day in my truck as long as I live. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
15. Nothing Says a Thousand Words
Had to tell a friend she talks too much. She’s genuinely a good person so it hurt but she literally can’t have silence at any time…We can’t just sit and enjoy something, she has to be talking. The minute someone has silence longer than a second, she’s talking about her job or what her mom had for lunch. It’s a constant stream of consciousness that never ends.
A movie? She’s talking about what just happened on-screen like she’s the narrator. Friend comes over who I haven’t seen in years? She was talking over our whole greeting. It’s time to go? She doesn’t get the hint and just…keeps…talking. She asked me why people seem to only hang out with her once and then stop…why her bf was distant.
So, I told her it’s probably the amount she speaks. I asked her why she feels that it’s weird to have silence. She just said it made her feel uneasy when people weren’t talking. I told her it’s worse to talk when you don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation, and it’s okay to have silence every once in a while.
She’s gotten better and thanked me because no one else had the heart to tell her.
16. Not Even In the Line of Duty
My dad was a cop for 27 years, so I asked him. Dad was working the midnight shift. They got a call about a car accident, arrived on the scene to find a fatality. Turns out the guy who was killed was a police officer’s son. He was also a close family friend. My dad had to go to one of his best friend and coworker’s house at like 2 AM to tell him his son had been struck and killed by a drunk driver.
17. Too Young to Know That Love Hurts
Trying to explain to my four-year-old niece why my long-time girlfriend wasn’t with me anymore. She just didn’t understand and kept asking questions like “I thought Aunty _____ loved you? Why did she leave?” The breakup was recent and that conversation…that conversation hurt man.
18. The World’s Worst Wake-Up Call
After my parents split up, my dad moved us in with his mother. She was one of those grandmas who woke up every morning to get my siblings and I up for school because my dad left for work at 4 AM and worked 12-hour days usually. One day, she didn’t wake us up. Just as was coming out of my room, I saw my younger sister (four years; I was 17) coming out of her room. We just kind of looked at each other and had an “oh no!” moment.
I went in to check on Grandma. She was cold. So, I called 911 and then had to call Dad. That was hard. And because he worked about 30 minutes away (this was the 90s, so cell phones weren’t that common yet), I had to call all the aunts and uncles too. And then dig out grandma’s DNR from where dad told me it was and hand it to the EMTs that showed up.
So, it was definitely the seven worst calls of my life so far.
19. A Change of Faith
I told my wife I didn’t believe in Mormonism anymore. I grew up Mormon, married a Mormon. It’s difficult to explain on Reddit how all-encompassing Mormonism is with its members. Just imagine they tell you how to live your life. Like, everything down to what underwear you can wear. Anyways I grew up assuming the church I grew up in was 100% true. True in the surest sense of the word.
Shortly before I got married, I learned that the church’s founding was…different than what I was taught. After a couple years of studying, I realized I was duped. Not like “oh, it’s just different perspective” kind of duped. More like a “the founder of the church who I regarded as the most holy man ever to walk save Jesus turned out to be a sexual predator” kind of duped.
So ya, I kept my disbelief secret for the longest time, but due to the all-encompassing nature of Mormonism, it started driving me crazy. So, I told my wife that I had serious doubts about the church and that I loved her regardless. She yelled at me, told me our marriage was a lie, and stormed out of the house.
20. Heroes Will Fall
Bar regular of mine almost fell to his death washing windows in a four-story building. He miraculously survived yet broke every bone in his body and cracked his skull. First responders were firefighters right near Houston St. and Broadway in NYC. If they hadn’t responded, he would have died right there. Fast forward four weeks later, September 15, 2001.
He is out of his coma, and finally able to be taken home by his sister and out of hospice. Barely able to speak, he manages to whisper that he wants her to pass him by the fire station two blocks down so he could thank his rescuers. His sister had to then explain the black smoke still lingering in the air, the entirety of the 9/11 attacks, and that every single first responder that helped him, perished.
Sometimes that worn out older man sitting at the bar day drinking red wine has a really good story to tell.
Broke my heart.
21. It Takes a Layperson to Do the Right Thing
I had to tell my best friend in high school that I was the one who reported her dad for molesting her. She had spoken only to me in confidence and our pastor. They pulled her out of class after it was reported and allowed her a friend for comfort. She chose me and as she sat sobbing, speaking of how horribly she hated our pastor, how she would never forgive him, I looked her in the eyes and told her it was me.
I was 16. At the time, I truly did not think I was doing anything special; a friend was in trouble and if you can help, you do. The pastor never received punishment for not reporting, and this was the beginning of my discomfort with organized religion. As for my friend, she completely cut off contact and moved out of state as soon as she could (post-trial).
She surprised me by visiting on a trip home a few years later… I will always remember how she looked when she said, “I’m so sorry we can never be friends again—I look at you and see everything. But you absolutely saved my life.” I’m okay with that now, at the time it tore my heart up.
22. There Was Only One Left
Not me, but one of my aunts had to tell our family that her husband and kids all died after they hit a moose in their car. The worst part is that the husband got decapitated by a shard of glass from the windscreen, and the kids might have seen it happen before they eventually passed. I was very young when it happened, so I don’t know all the details.
I know the bit at the end is a little horrible and I hope they didn’t have to go through that, I am simply saying what I was told by my family.
23. The End of the Patriarchs
Told my Dad, who was in the hospital two weeks away from his own death, that his father had died. Dad hadn’t yet accepted that he, himself was dying, though my sister and I could see it. Grandpa had been in hospice for two months, so we all knew that his end was near. In the week between Grandpa’s death and his funeral, Dad began to accept that he didn’t have much time left.
Dad made it to Grandpa’s funeral, albeit via ambulance/wheelchair, and saw his extended family for the last time. That was a surreal experience for me, watching him say goodbye.
24. Children Shouldn’t Be Expected to Save Their Parents
I had to tell my mom that dad died. Her husband of 45 years. Dad wasn’t feeling good; he had a bit of a cough on a Sunday morning, so he didn’t go to Church with my mom. Mom called me on the way to Church to see if I’d go check on dad. No problem, right? Old man and I will watch some war movies or something. I get to the house and dad has more than a bit of a cough, it’s like full blown pneumonia.
He asks for some blankets, which I grab. He doesn’t want to watch a show or anything, so I play with my dachshund a bit and let him run around their massive yard. When I come back in, dad asks for a breathing treatment (he has COPD, so he had albuterol treatments). I grab the treatment but when I hand it to him, I realize he has blue lips.
I pick him up, tell him we’re going to the ER. We make it to the front door, and he grabs the door handle and won’t let go. He slumps down and stares at me. I tell him I love him. He blurts out “I love… I love… I love…” and then he is dead. I call 911 while doing CPR. But I know. 10 years as a Paramedic and I had failed my dad. I failed to see the signs before my very eyes. I called mom to get home ASAP. She was picking us up a pizza. I beg the paramedics to transport my dad, even though they had every right to call it on scene. I didn’t want mom to see dad like this.
Mom gets home and I have to tell her. I’ve told families that I’ll do everything I can to save their dead baby. I’ve had to answer questions from parents that were burnt severely that we were still looking for their child in their fully engulfed house. I’ve even had to deal with family members showing up on a scene and seeing their teenage daughter headless in the driver seat of an accident.
This was the worst. I wake up screaming in my sleep often now. It was bad before, and it’s been two years now since I failed my dad, but now it’s an almost every night event now…so yeah.
25. Brother Until the End
I had to tell my best friend one of his fraternity brothers committed suicide. He was out of school for the semester and I knew informing him wouldn’t be the top priority by anyone in the house, so I called him. It was the most heartbreaking thing to have to do, especially over the phone. I wished I could have been there for him in person.
I think it was the only time I’d heard/seen him cry…
26. It’s a Doggone Life Lost
When I was 13, I’d come home from school and was the first one home. I spotted a trail of blood leading up the pavement, thought nothing of it until I realized it led into my garden and around the back of the house. Ran inside and found the trail leading upstairs to my sister’s bedroom where I found our dog, a four-year-old black Labrador. Dead, covered in blood, and clearly had been in a lot of pain.
My neighbor came running behind me and explained that Max had gotten out of the back somehow and took himself for a walk where he got hit by a car. He managed to drag himself home and curled up on my sisters’ bed. The driver had followed him and tried knocking on our door, but no one was home so explained what had happened to a neighbor.
Me and my neighbor cleaned the blood from around our house and garden. Had to call my mum and dad to tell them and they came home as quick as they could, but my sister (eight years old at the time) came home before then and I had to explain why she couldn’t go in her room. She ended up sleeping in my room for a week.
27. Family is More Than Blood
I had to tell my son (not biological, no legal rights to him), that I wanted to divorce his dad. I barely see him now, and he doesn’t even consider me his parent anymore. I don’t really know how to deal with it. I don’t even think I’m supposed to still call him my son, but how do you become a not parent to someone you’ve parented, largely by yourself, for eight years?
28. Maybe Not, Baby
Telling my parents that my college girlfriend was pregnant during senior year. It was a rough conversation, but I had built it up in my head that it was going to be far worse. The follow-up conversation about it all having been faked by her was also very hard.
29. He Won’t Meet You at the Altar
My life long best friend died suddenly at 35. It was just a few days before he was supposed to get married, to a girl he had been with for ten years and who he had wanted to marry for years but they couldn’t quite pull it off. He survived a near death experience a few years earlier, and he made it out to all of us that things were “ok” so none of us suspected he was in any danger.
A surgery could have prevented the heart failure he suffered, but he could not afford this being out of work at the time and without insurance. I was the first to know among our friends. It fell to me to tell them. He was the best of us. In an eerie mirror of how we met each other as friends since childhood, I had to progress through the list calling each, telling them of this unspeakable tragedy. I relived the years as we met everyone, every good memory now agonizing.
This friend was a homebody and so we took for granted that he was okay, and never really forced him to come hang out with everybody like we should have. So ultimately, we got a few extra years with him that we didn’t utilize well, because he did such a good job making us all believe everything was okay that we thought it was all behind him.
It’s been a few years since he’s gone now, but I still miss him every day. All I could say to any of them was, “He’s gone.” People afterward said, “I’m sorry for your loss” and I always corrected them; losing him was everyone’s loss.
30. Mourning is a Matter of the Mind
I had to tell my husband that our five-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with an incurable, terminal, genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Then I had to tell my mother (who we had named her after). She lived alone, 1,000 miles away, so I had one of her closest friends there when I called and then had her pastor come to her house a few minutes later.
31. When You Put Your Faith in Violence, We all Lose
Telling my mom that her yoga instructor, our longtime family friend, and man of peace Sudarhmen was murdered by a religious extremist that came from another state for the sole purpose of killing him. I was only 14 at the time and struggled because I knew how she would react, but also she needed to know. That sucked.
32. The Party Stops Here
A large group of our friends had come together for an amazing Christmas party on the 23rd. After we woke up the next morning, my friend Mason and I were the first to find out one friend had not woken up at all, and never would again. We activated a haphazard phone tree and had to tell everyone who was at the party that Elisabet had died in her sleep on Christmas Eve.
It was shocking, tragic, and WAY too soon. We were 18/19 at the time. I still have a hard time on the 23rd of December. Before anyone asks, she likely died of a seizure. It was not related to the party. The only consolation is that she had a really good time with good friends on her last night with us.
33. A Good Cause to Avoid Custody
When I had to tell my mother the real reason I didn’t want to see my biological father. It wasn’t because I was a moody teenager, but that he had been physically and psychologically abusing me. I didn’t see him often thank God, but my mom had always been angry that I was so unwilling to see him. The experience overall had been absolutely horrible, but seeing my mother realize what she had done to me by forcing me go meet him?
That absolutely broke me. I didn’t want to see her like that, which had been one of the reasons why I had stayed quiet about it. She still blames herself for it, years later. I wish she didn’t.
34. Right Man, Wrong Time
Telling the man I loved (and probably still do) that we couldn’t stay together. Love doesn’t make everything go right and sometimes we want things from life that are too different. Two years after that he got married to someone that shared the same path as he does, and I was overjoyed, but it was also extremely painful.
35. Daddy Dearest, Most Drugged
I was 19 when my father came flying down the stairs of the house into my room, jumped on my throat, and started screaming at me at five in the morning. After that, he left the house and came back a few hours later trying to apologize. Mom ended up kicking him out of the house, and I remember telling him that I don’t want him in my life anymore and that I can’t forgive him for what he just did and everything he did before in my life.
I remember coming back inside and just losing my cool and crying for a good half hour about it. All this happened because I found his stash of hard substances and a pipe and asked my Uncle for advice on what to do about it. Dad found out and decided that jumping me while I was asleep was the best choice. Still the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
36. All You Have to Do Is Ask
I was part of a D&D group and one kid was really annoying. No one liked him and he was driving me crazy so one day I told him off: “Look man, I asked around and literally no one here wants you hanging out. You do a, b, and c, and everyone is just sick of it, please don’t come back.” An hour later, he came back and asked if he stopped doing a, b, and c if he could hang out again. I said yes, and he got along well with everybody from there on out.
Telling him off was really nervewracking but him coming back and acting like a genuine person was a real shocker.
37. Introduction to the End
I worked as a pediatric psychology fellow while in graduate school (PhD clinical psychology). This invoked providing psychological services for all children in the hospital. One of my very first weeks, I was shadowing a more experienced fellow and we encountered a family whose child (seven-year-old girl) was hospitalized after she was in a car accident with her father.
Her father died in the accident, and no one in her family was comfortable directly explaining this to the child. They had used a lot of religious euphemisms about death (he’s watching over you in Heaven, he’s with you in spirit), but this language is not concrete enough for a young child who doesn’t really understand death.
Sitting with this child (body brace, lacerations all over, very flat affect) and explaining to her what death was, that her father had died, and having to ask questions to make sure she understood was one of the most traumatizing experiences of my graduate training. I can still vividly imagine her face while we were telling her and the tears silently rolling down her face.
38. Mom’s Waking Nightmare
Had to tell my mom that my brother died. I was his emergency contact at the hospital. Called her at 2 AM to tell her and she was oddly calm. About five min later she called me back asking, “Did you just tell me that Jimmy died? I think I had a terrible dream.” I had to tell her twice.
39. Make the Last Moments Happy Ones, No Matter the Truth
Not telling my brother he had brain cancer. Telling him to focus on getting better and he would come live with my parents soon. He lost his short-term memory two days after they found the tumor. Had brain surgery. We didn’t want him to suffer by telling over and over as he would forget. My parents took his ashes and kept them at home for months. She wanted to keep her promise that he would come live with them.
Sorry, still pretty broken over it.
40. Go Out With Dignity
I told my grandfather that the surgery he was scheduled to have in less than two hours, which was necessary to save his life, was going to leave him unable to take anything by mouth ever again—even water; and leave him hooked to an IV pretty much permanently. Being a fiercely independent person, he, of course, refused to move forward with the surgery (which he had previously agreed to, not knowing this).
Then I had to inform my family that I had told him the truth, against their wishes, and that he had decided against the surgery. It was the worst day of my life. I did what was right, even though it meant he would leave us within weeks, and I don’t regret it, but…damn. I still cry every single time I think about it.
My grandfather had a tremendous amount of integrity and love for his family. He was a WWII veteran who never once backed down from a challenge or took the easy path over the right one. His presence in my life was a gift unlike any other. I still miss him every single day. I don’t know how thoroughly the surgery was explained to him or how much he understood (he was sedated heavily) when he agreed to it.
He was being put on Central Venous Nutrition. The surgery was to install a port for feeding him via IV. He wouldn’t have been able to go home without 24-hour care and would have been restricted from all oral intake, (due to reflux causing recurring aspiration pneumonia) and left more or less permanently hooked up to tubes.
When I told him, he cried and apologized to me over and over. It was heartbreaking. I knew that he would have done the same for me though. Thank you all for affirmation that I did the right thing for him in his final days. It really means a lot.
41. Make It a Holiday Tradition
I took it upon myself to inform our circle of friends fairly early in the morning that our good friend had decided to take his life the night before—just a few days before Christmas. I was his best friend, and his parents obviously didn’t have any ways of contacting most of the group. His mom actually ended up calling my wife to break the news.
So, it was basically a few hours of calling, breaking the news, having a good cry, composing myself, making the next call, etc. As terrible as that was, I still can’t even imagine what his parents had to go through. Take my sorrow and pain and multiply that by infinity, I suppose. Four years later, the crew still organizes a dinner with his parents every three months or so. They may have lost a son, but they inherited ten children and a few grandchildren.
They’re stuck with us now.
42. Trained to Give the Final Ride
I’ve told the story before, but I was an NYC paramedic and had to walk a guy through his own death one night. He was crushed and folded by a subway car—as soon as we moved the subway car, we knew he would bleed out. He had no family to call (I suspect it had something to do with his sexuality) and I’m a huge believer that no one dies alone.
I had FDNY and the MTA set up a spot so I could crawl under the car next to him and we could talk as the process happened. I gave him plenty of morphine and he took my hand as the lift was started. I didn’t let go til I pronounced him. Tommy, I stayed til we had to close the doors man. I promised I would. My wife lights that candle for you every anniversary too.
No one will ever forget you as long as I have a say.