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Emergency Contact

Megan Harrod

It’s been a while since I’ve taken time to formulate words associated with paper (or computer, rather)…but I’m not sorry for that. I’ve taken time this summer to explore, spend time with friends, make America (or Park City) blade again, witness love and commitment shared between two wonderful humans, learn new things and focus on myself. Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?! Or something like that. Anyway, I’ve been thinking…and you all know where thinking leads me.


Recently, while in Jackson, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about the notion of the “Emergency Contact” and what that means to each of us. Living in one of the most active places in the world and traveling nine months of the year, I’m often filling out forms with the field, “Emergency Contact” on them. Most of us have the novelty of filling out these forms without hesitation. Me, not so much.

Every time I reach the line, I pause. Until I met and married my ex-husband, my father was my emergency contact…no offense to my mother, but my mother being a nurse midwife and often on call, my father was always more accessible. So, it was my dad. Then, it was my ex-husband. Until I left and took the world on solo. Then – for the first time ever – I filled out these forms with hesitation. And, I continue to do so to this day.

Have you ever thought about who your emergency contact is, and why? Am I making this more complex than it needs to be? Likely. That’s my modus operandi after all. But, really. This is the question I asked my friend when I was in Jackson. “Who’s your emergency contact?” She answered by explaining that it was her mother, with whom she does not even have a solid relationship.

Curious as ever, I explored further. Do others struggle with something that seems so simple for most? Is it simple for most, or do I just perceive it to be simple for most?

Maybe you’re curious about who my emergency contact is now?  

Join the club.

Three years ago when I left my ex-husband, it became my father once again. The longer I lived in the beautiful Wasatch, and as life, adventure and friendships evolved for me, this changed. I started a new life. With a new emergency contact: my best friend in Utah, Ana. Someone who lived nearer, understood me as a human and loved me despite – and maybe because of – my complexities, and also craved for adventure. It made sense.

I began to establish roots in a new place.

A new home.

I met boys, too. Some fleeting, some longer-lasting, some who captured my heart. But still, Ana remained my emergency contact. Sometimes, my father, depending. But, still not the boy who captured my heart.

What does that mean?

I’m an individual, independent of another? As simple as that? Or, I’m not ready to commit to and fully trust in another human/he’s not ready to commit to and trust in me?

These are all questions I’ve asked myself. I still don’t have an answer.

Until then, Ana is my emergency contact.

Who is yours?