Thank you for sharing such a touching story. You are so right about our need to distance ourselves from emotion to handle the critical nature of emergencies. I really connect with your line "I have to open up and let a portion of their lives touch mine."
It is important that we do that when we care for patients. We remember the human element. We also allow ourselves to reconnect with our own emotions. We reattach from the detachment.
This one will stick in my mind for a long time.