Dear Paramedic (name withheld),

On the 24th February 2014 it will be a whole year since I saw your face, and a whole year since I last saw my mum alive. I was married on the 24th February 2007, and the time I walked in to her bedroom last year to find her catastrophically ill, was the time she was helping me in to my wedding dress 6 years previously.  I wonder how life can be so cruel.

I have thought about you every day since then, and I often wonder if you remember my face as clearly as I remember yours. I doubt it, you barely glanced up at me when I entered my mum’s bedroom and you dismissed my repeated requests to take her in to hospital with a sigh, I was just an irritation to you, as was my mum. I remember you crouching on one leg filling in your paperwork – little did I know that the paperwork would be woefully inadequate and that you would be identified as having failed my mother in 3 key areas of her care.  I suppose you had a bad day.  A bad day at the office might be deleting a document of a disc; your bad day resulted in my mum’s death.

I have spent a year hating you, feeling rage and anger towards you.  I have been round and round in my head how different the outcome would have been if you had paid attention to what she was telling you, if you had just listened to me, or at the very least if you had just given her the right care that she was entitled to.  I wondered what would have happened if a different paramedic had shown up instead of you.

I have thought about whether you felt guilt or remorse. I wondered if you had any idea of what you had done to us.  I wondered if you had any concept of how many lives had been devastated because you failed her.  I wondered if your emotions mirrored ours, did you feel the same quantity of sadness and guilt as we did anger and grief?  Sometimes I wished  you knew what you had destroyed, and what we had all lost, because if you didn’t feel anything about that day then I wanted you to, I wanted you to be suffering like we were suffering.

Over the last year I have sincerely hoped you have felt strongly about what you did and I can only assume that you have done. You are a paramedic after all and I doubt you are in the profession to cause people to die.  I have had to tell myself this over and over and over again. I needed to believe it. I needed to believe you were sorry for what you had done. I needed to believe that you regretted that day with all your heart and that you carried remorse with you.  I needed to believe you thought of her when treating your patients, and that what happened to my mum improved the quality of care and service that you provided after that day.  I needed to believe you had the deepest regret.  I needed to believe it, so I did, and I do.

It is because I believe all of this that I want to let you know that I forgive you.

I am ready to stop hating you, to stop going over that day in my head.  I am ready to let go and I want you to too. I want you to know that we all make mistakes and that yours was a catastrophic one, but it was a mistake. We are all human, none of us perfect.  I forgive you and with that I find a peace, I find calm and I can let go of my rage. I must carry on for the sake of my children, and I have no room for anger in my life. You must carry on with your life and let go of any feelings you have towards that day too. You must continue in your career as a better paramedic because of what happened that day and then at least, in the very smallest of ways, her death was not for nothing.  Some good must come out of something so awful.

Regards,

Helen