Please Don’t Go...
I recently watched my husband put on his uniform for the first time since I had given birth to our daughter a few weeks earlier. He had taken a few weeks off to be able to spend some time with us after her birth. As I watched him prepare to leave for work, the events in the past few months involving Law Enforcement Officers nationally began to cross my mind, from the incidents in Ferguson, to Boston, and most recently McKinney. I also began to think of all of the officers that have lost their lives in the Line of Duty, especially those who have been murdered while on duty this past year. It seems that this number is going up at an alarming rate. As these thoughts began to race through my mind, those deep dark fears that I try so hard to keep at bay so that they don’t consume my every thought while my husband is on duty began to rear their ugly head. I could feel the anxiety and panic began to swell within my soul. I wanted to beg him to stay home, to not walk out that door and risk his life for so many citizens that truly don’t care about this amazing man that I am lucky enough to have as my husband, and his brothers and sisters in blue that serve this community with him. I wanted so badly for him to be able to stay home to know that he was safe and sound and right where I could see him, touch him, and talk to him. I wanted to know that he was safe. As someone who lost their step-father at 16 and their father at 21 to both very unexpected and sudden deaths, I know the hole that is left when a parent is taken suddenly and tragically. I know the heartache that accompanies such a loss. I have seen how my mother and my step-mother grieved the loss of their spouse and how that has affected them for many years since. I have known the pain of not having a parent there for my wedding or the birth of my children. I have seen the struggles that my siblings have had as they have not had their father there for sporting events and graduations. As sudden and tragic as the loss of both of them were in my life, and the lives of my family, neither of them were murdered. Having a spouse who is an LEO that is gunned down in the line of duty for simply doing their job that they are paid to do and wearing their uniform, is an unimaginable and senseless loss, leaving so many unanswered questions. My heart goes out to every LEO spouse and their family that has ever had to experience this loss and this kind of pain. I began to think about how different my life would be if I were to lose my husband if he were to be killed on duty. That is a loss that I don’t want to think about. How would I tell my children that they would have to grow up without their father, and all that he would miss? How would I raise our 3 children on my own without him by my side? How would I make it through this life without him? How can people in this world be so cold and senseless? How can there be so many families that have already experienced this?
As these questions and this anxiety was washing over me I began to think about a few things.
1) It didn’t matter how nervous I am about the state of the Anti – Law Enforcement movement and my husband being on the street, he would still go. He took a sworn oath to serve and protect, and that is what he would do. He would complete his duty because that is what he had been called to do at this point in his life. He loves his job, and I believe for most Law Enforcement Officer’s it is in their blood. Not everyone can do what they do on a daily basis, and even though there is a growing part of society that thinks we don’t need law enforcement officers, we truly do. They do so many things that have such a positive impact on society even if a lot of people are unable to see and accept that.
2) I also realized that I am not ALONE. This in itself brings some sense of comfort. There are thousands of us law enforcement couples out there. For the Officers I know that it is always in the back of their minds that they may truly not go home at the end of their shift, though they never dwell on it or they would not be able to do their job. For their Spouses I know that they have the same thoughts as I do, the same worries, the same concerns, and sadly too many of them have lived and are living the reality of losing their spouse in the line of duty. We all have to work on keeping those scary emotions at bay, or they would consume us. There is peace in knowing that there are thousands of other families living this life with me, that understands parts of my soul that my non law enforcement friends and family can’t. We don’t have to look far for someone that knows and understands what we are going through, after all that is why it is called the Blue Family.
3) Dwelling on these emotions would not be good for my marriage or for me. I know all too well how our emotions can affect us on a deep level. The last thing that my husband needed to know was how worried I was about him before he walked out the door for his shift that night. Or any shift for that matter. Begging him to stay home would not be good for our marriage, he needs to know that I support him, that I love him, and that I am here for him when he needs me the most. He needs to know that I am stronger than that. He needs to know that I can hold it together and be strong for him and our children. I already know that he knows these thoughts and concerns cross my mind. We don’t need to revisit that every time that he leaves for work. It also wouldn’t be good for me to continually live in the energy of fear and anxiety. I have to let it go and trust in something bigger than myself. I have to have an awareness of the realities of his career but not dwell on the, “what if’s”. I will release the,” what if’s” and experience gratitude for every second and experience of this life that I get to experience with my amazing husband, I will create good memories with him and our children, and if someday heaven forbid something did happen, I could look back and say, that I did everything I could to support him and to make our life together amazing, I could look back and say that we had an amazing life together and that we set a great example for our children, and that he knew how much I loved him. I hope and pray that I never experience that. For now I am going to be grateful for every moment and live them to their fullest potential, even if being an LEO family comes with an interesting set of circumstances sometimes.
So as my LEO walked into the kitchen to ask me how he looked before he left for work a few nights ago, I let go of the fears that were trying to overcome me, put a smile on my face and told him that he looked great, gave him a kiss and told him that I love him and to be safe. At times, I know that all of us have emotions that we have to work through that come along with loving a LEO. There may be times that those emotions will affect or have an impact on our marriage. I think that it is important that we find healthy ways to cope with any negative emotions that come our way. I would love to hear some feedback from all of you. What are some ways that you deal with the emotions that come along with being married an LE couple?