A Part, Not Behind

As a law enforcement wife, I have often said that I stand behind the Thin Blue Line, I support the men and women who walk that line and have utmost respect for them. Lately, I’ve changed my way of how I think about that. As a wife, I am not behind that line, I AM a part of it, just as my husband and my children are a part of it. That line doesn’t just affect him, but anyone who is related to it.

Last Friday, my husband and I made the journey across the state to see a 22 year old officer laid to rest. He had only graduated CLEET last July. I’ve said it numerous times on Facebook, this boy was a year older than my twins. He was 2 years younger than my oldest son, and I watched his mother have to do what no mother should ever have to. Stand over his coffin. She is not behind that line. She is a part of it. She will always be a part of it. That line has forever changed her life.

The law enforcement wife is a unique creature. She learns to hear what her officer says with her eyes. I can tell what is really going on with mine by simply watching him. When I ask, “How was your day?”, he may answer “Oh, fine.” Sometimes he means that, a lot of times his body language says, “Today was a day I almost didn’t come home, worked something really bad, and because I love you, I’m willing to put on a smile and lie to you so that I can protect you, and myself.”  Am I angry, shocked an appalled that he will do that? Simply stated, no, I’m not. There are things that I know that he is not going to and never will talk to me about concerning this job, and I don’t want to know everything. I honestly don’t think that I could be the support he needs if I’m dealing with his demons along with him.

Personally, I am the type of wife that is extremely pro-active in support and I guess you could say participation in my husband’s daily law enforcement life. I want to know the in’s and out’s of his job. I ask questions all the time about different situations, laws, legalities, civil vs. municipal, and so on. We talk in 10 codes, I support his reserve academies by acting has his photographer to capture all of the training and put it into a slideshow for the graduation. I LOVE being around officers and training. Do I want to be a cop? Not at all, but being a part of this line, why not know everything I possibly can about it.

Part of my motivation for this particular writing is because we are preparing for a class we are teaching that focuses on Police Families. We are showing the documentary Code 9: Officer Needs Assistance. In the past couple of weeks, there have been around 10 officer suicides. PTSD is a topic that we both take very seriously, and put out information on facing it when we can. My thoughts will stay primarily dead center on the idea of helping even one LE family and putting the tools they need to stand this line every day of their marriage.

I am a LEOW, I am part of the Thin Blue Line, and this family bleeds blue.

 

Day 19: Your Badge, My Heart 

Day 19: Your Badge, My Heart

Around this time 10 years ago, you were in weapons block. Doing qualifying rounds in ice and snow. You were a couple of months from graduating the academy. It had been a very rough time emotionally for all of us as we only got to see you a couple of days each week while you chased the dream that would become your passion, that would become an ever changing way of life.

As I sit and think about where we have come from since then, there are so many thoughts, so many memories, so many emotions, so may frustrations, so many joys. This has been a road met with challenges, some from without, a lot from within, but now as I consider all that has happened, I realize you can not come through any situation without going through the fire.

I don’t have to tell you the challenges law enforcement as a whole is currently going through. You live it everyday. We see it everyday. We worry about it everyday. And while I have the moments of not wanting you to give of yourself anymore due to the lack of appreciation and the hatred that seems to run out of control, it is only half of a coin. That half wants me to tell you to cut loose and get out. Why put your life at risk every single day? Why risk yourself for the possibility of the unthinkable? Why deal with the aggravation of being caught between and angry world and a broken system. Why do we have to continue to pay as a family? We sacrifice, we lose out, we are often on the back burner.  ODMP is forever in front of our eyes, and all we can do is grieve with the rest of the thin blue line family. Good, honest cops pay with their lives and somehow they deserve it due to situations they were never involved with. I fear for you. I fear for us. I fear for our kids.

But then, there is the flip side of that coin. The side that screams honor, integrity, pride. The side that shows what you do is not in vain. The side that shows how you listen, hear and try to find resolution to our citizens situations. The side that when I see you in uniform, I know that our county is that much safer because you care and aim to protect and serve.

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Deputy Cross letting the kids check out his cruiser.

Do you know why you are my hero? It isn’t just because of the badge you wear. It isn’t because you helped protect those little girls by making sure the monster that hurt them will spend forever behind bars. It isn’t because you worked with a young lady and even though her life ended tragically, you don’t give up hope in spite of how it haunts you. It isn’t because you are standing for a little boy so viciously attacked by a dog and his parents seeing no legal resolution. It isn’t because you strive to offer the best training possible, or attend community events, or by going out of your way to talk with the kids of our communities or by double checking on our dispatchers to make sure everything is ok. It is because you are my heart, and in spite of all the times I haven’t come first, or a band concert or game or holiday was missed due to job, in your heart we are still first. It shows in your eyes, it is felt in your hug, it is confirmed in the words you speak to our boys. You are my hero because you stand for what is right and you don’t back down from it. You stand for what is lawful and you enforce it. You give me your love so freely and unconditionally. That even when you are so tired and sore and just want to crash, you give of yourself and let us know that we make everything OK for you.

We are 8 months away from 25 years of marriage. You became my hero at “I Do.”

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