by Careen Condrotte
Once upon a time, the stories will tell
About a place here on Earth, between heaven and hell.
Where one need not sleep, to have the bad dreams
Because the flashbacks seem real, the smells and the screams.
For despite valiant efforts, sometimes they lose.
For some there are answers, but not many clues.
The cards stacked against them, the odds not very good
No… they didn’t give up, but did all that they could.
Everyone somber, a tear here and there.
Others are angry, some had The Thousand Yard stare.
“Welcome to Shadow Land”, a voice whispered softly.
“It’s a dark place to be, and the shadows are costly.”
“Sometimes the armor, not as strong as one thought
Where a moment in time, stole a piece of one’s heart.
For one cannot serve, without coming in whole
But the price that one pays, may be imprints on the soul.”
Then out of the darkness, the blackest of nights
Far in the distance, what appeared as small lights.
Faint at first glance, but growing in number.
What are these strange lights? Stunned faces began to wonder.
Where did they come from? Why are they here?
Don’t recognize them… do we have something to fear?
Despite tired and weary, they were drawn to the light.
Something they had, would help make things right.
As the lights drew nearer, they suddenly knew.
They recognized them, by the white red and blue.
Wearing familiar armor, right down to the boots
Not adorned in fancy dress, but right from grass roots.
One Light stepped forward, said “We’ve had similar nights.”
“We’ve danced with The Reaper, fought some good fights.
Our lockers are filled with tattered T-shirts.
And sometimes we know, everybody just hurts.”
“Just like you, we have our own battle scars.
Sometimes we’re just quiet, and look to the stars.
But tonight my new friend, there is nothing to fear.
We came just for you, that’s why us peers are here.”
“For those badly wounded, a special team comes.
They’re here to help, but they beat their own drums.
Armor much softer, but they’re one of the same
But fighting the shadows is their specialty game.”
So on that darkest of days, the Lights parted the dark.
Bringing comfort and friendship, soothe the sting of the mark.
Allowing the anger, frustration and tears
To be heard by a stranger, with no judgment or leers.
Working in tandem the Lights’ mission quite clear…
Ease the burden of guilt, wipe a real hero’s tear.
Deflecting the anger, sorrow and pain
Not asking for credit, or seeking personal gain.
As the tri-colored Lights joined forces together
No shadows too dark, or storm to weather.
Staying all night, till the sun rose again.
Hoping compassion would help the soul mend.
And with a vision in sight, a new trend created
Bringing Lights to the dark, and fears are abated.
Where apathy, judgment and stigma are banned
And why our world needs the Lights for Shadow Land.
© C.E. Condrotte February 12, 2015
About the Author: Careen Condrotte is a Registered Social Worker who has been immersed in the field of crisis intervention for close to 20 years. Careen is an Approved ICISF instructor and Provincial Coordinator of a newly developed Alberta-wide Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) & Peer Support program for EMS practitioners and EMS dispatchers. An advocate of prevention and early intervention services for emergency service personnel, Careen works hard on a provincial level to collaborate with other emergency service partners in Fire Services and Law Enforcement to ensure responders get appropriate supports following critical/traumatic events. Careen is also a Level II Reiki Practitioner and has begun to introduce alternative/holistic approaches for self-care and trauma recovery. Her poems are dedicated to the brave men and women who risk their lives, and their souls, daily to respond to other people’s emergencies.