“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5:9
Where does one start? How do you put into words the gut wrenching feeling you get when it happens? That moment when you are all at once alone in a world that wants to destroy what you love most and yet silently and permanently bonded to all those who share the same pain.
To put it simply, my heart is broken. It is broken over the thought that this is the kind of world we live in. It is broken at the thought that this is the reality for my family and every other law enforcement family, an everyday possibility we live with. I am sad beyond words for those who personally knew the man behind the badge. And to be perfectly honest, I am afraid. I am afraid all over again, like the first time I sent my husband away for a shift of ‘serving and protecting’… I am afraid of the world that would see him murdered in cold blood simply because of his uniform.
Over time we learn to put blinders on when our loved one walks out the door for ‘another day at the office’. Not because we want to forget but because it’s the only way we can let them put themselves in harm’s way day after day and not lose our minds with worry. We learn to never take the little things for granted, we learn to always kiss them goodbye and tell them we love them no matter what. Just in case. Because we know, in the deepest corner of our mind, that it very well could be the last time. That when he hugs your children and walks out the door, he may never get the opportunity to walk back in. We know this all too well from the heartbreak endured by the loved ones of those who’ve gone before. But we learn, above all else, to buffer the worry and the fear with a smile and prayer to be safe.
But when it happens, it knocks the blinders clean off and we remember, all over again, the fear and trepidation. We know they’ll go back out after it happens. We don’t want them to, God knows, we want to keep them home with us. But they go back out. Even as their own hearts are breaking for the loss of one of their own, they go back out. Not because they want to. But because it is their duty and they are called to it. And there is work to be done. So as they suit up and head back out, we stand by their side and smile and pray. And we put the blinders back up so we can make it through another shift.