Daughter of Firefighter
I am a daughter of a retired FDNY firefighter who committed suicide in 2008. My father suffered from depression after being hurt in a fire and then retired from the department because of herniated discs in his spine. My father loved being a firefighter; he loved saving people from harm’s way and having to retire broke his heart.
My father was so religious and so outgoing; I had a hard time believing that he took his own life. My father was the life of the party; he made everyone laugh and would always go above and beyond for others. He was athletic, handsome, and charming. He had all the qualities of a person that would make you think how can he do something like this?
It’s been almost five years since my father died and every day I think that this could have been prevented had he come to Friends of Firefighters. My father never went to therapy to get help because he saw therapy as a sign of weakness; he couldn’t imagine someone who dedicated his life to saving others having to sit down and explain how certain aspects of the job traumatized him. One of the unique aspects of Friends of Firefighters is that there are other retired firefighters here who can sit down and speak to one another if they feel counseling isn’t for them. I feel strongly that if my dad had known more about Friends of Firefighters, he would still be alive today.
Friends of Firefighters has also helped my family and me get through our loss and personal hardships. What I love about being a part of the FDNY community is that even though my father isn’t physically here, I have plenty of others who are willing to help me and my family with anything we need.
Our families risk their lives to protect a total stranger from a fire or dangerous situation. At Friends of Firefighters we are provided with support and protection too.
-Caitlin Walsh, daughter of retired FDNY