Friday, May 30, 2014
A Tribute and A Challenge
Yesterday afternoon, a man driving a car forever changed the lives and broke the hearts of so many people.
A state police officer was engaged in a traffic stop when the man crossed lanes and hit the trooper killing him instantly. Allegedly, he later confessed to doing it intentionally. Police eventually found the man after a K9 and foot pursuit hiding in the woods, completely naked. Early reports said he did not appear to be under the influence of any substances.
There are so very many things wrong with this.
More nights than not I sleep alone. My husband works the dreaded night tour and he has for nearly nine years. I help him strap on his kevlar- not completely bullet resistant but better than nothing- vest, watch him check his gun and handcuffs, kiss him good bye and pray for his safety every time he walks out that door. My heart drops a little as his old Ford Focus pulls out of the drive and it doesn't return to its normal position until the next morning when I get that 8 am "I'm alive" phone call.
Each time he goes on duty I have, somewhere in the back of my mind, the thought that I might never see him alive again. For the first two years he was on the job, I didn't sleep at all. I was high on caffeine and sugar all day long and wide awake, waiting for the phone to ring all night long. That was when I took up writing, to be productive in those hours when my husband was on the streets. I think I thought that I could protect him some how if I just didn't go to sleep. Now, I sleep but fitfully. I wake up regularly, check my cell phone for messages, make sure the house phone is turned on. I don't want to miss it if someone does try to reach me.
Country artist Reba McIntire put out a song several years ago called "Sleeping With The Telephone". The first time I heard it I cried like a baby. Check it out on youtube. It is amazing.
I hope to God my telephone never rings in the middle of the night.
My heart breaks for all the families of all the fallen officers. They had no idea that when their loved one left for work they would never, ever see him again. I hugged my husband extra tight last night and said an extra prayer for his safety and the safety of the men and women he works with. It didn't feel like enough though. It never does.
I know police officers are not necessarily the most popular guys (and gals) on the block, but they are dependable and always there when you need them. Our EMS, police, firefighters and Paramedics/EMT's, are heroes. They run in when others run away. They lay their lives on the line without question. And they have families who love them dearly.
Life is unpredictable. Any one of us could walk out that door and never see our loved ones again. It is so important to seize the moment and not let a single opportunity pass us by to tell someone how much they mean to us. You never know who they might encounter during the day and if it is someone hell bent on committing murder, well you just never know...
We have a hard and fast rule in our house not to argue before he goes to work at night. If we do occasionally slip, it's usually about stupid stuff and we apologize and make up before that graveyard shift begins. I never, ever want my last words to my husband to be in anger. How would I live with that if that "I'm Alive" phone call never comes the next day?
I would like to challenge each and everyone of you to take the time and tell the people you care about how you feel. Make it a habit to say I Love You or you are special to me and make sure that if you never see them again, nothing has been left unsaid. It will be hard enough to deal with their absence in your life without the realization that you never got to say the things you wanted.