When I first became a police wife, one of the realities I needed to confront was that every time Mike left for his shift, there was no guarantee he would return home at the end of his watch. The reality of being a patrol officer is he could be killed and all it takes is a traffic stop gone wrong to have the police chaplain, chief of police, and the police social worker walk up my driveway saying the words no police spouse ever wants to hear: your husband died a courageous man.
Now for some of you who love an officer this has already become a reality and my heart and my prayers go out to you. I cannot imagine the pain you endure or what it was like to put your life back together after you made the ultimate sacrifice of the one you love; to give your spouse, significant other, partner, to the greater good of society. To all of you who have lost someone in the line of duty, know that there are many who pray for you every day and that their legacy lives on through those who go out each day to protect and serve.
For those of us who continue to have a loved one out on the street it has become increasingly hard to kiss them good-bye as they leave the house to start their day. January 2011 has been a brutal month. At the time of writing this article, 15 law enforcement officers have died already this year. Two died in an automobile accident, 10 by direct gunfire, 1 by accidental gunfire, 1 by heart attack and another one struck by vehicle. This has been one of the bloodiest Januaries in history, as reported by Chris Cosgriff in his blog on The Officer Down Memorial Page, because of the number of officers killed by gunfire. For those of us who follow the newsfeeds, we have been seeing what seems to be a rising trend in officers being ambushed, even with one ambush this past month brazenly happening in a police station.
With this new rise in violence against law enforcement we began to get posts on our fan page and in our email boxes with questions and statements from those who love someone with the badge: How do we cope? I find myself crying all day, how do I let him go to work? I'm scared, and I don't know what to do. We were even contacted by the administrators from a forum for police wives (PoliceWives.org) who asked us to write an article because they are experiencing an increased feeling of helplessness from their members as the violence seems constant and unusually brutal.
Our response to those who love someone who carries a badge is:
One of my favorite movie quotes to use with women is from A League of Their Own: There's no crying in baseball!! as stated by a drunken coach (played by Tom Hanks) of a women's professional baseball team during WWII. This statement really had more to do with that time in history than it did with a woman crying because her coach yelled at her. It was a time when the world was at war and the US was fighting in Africa, Europe, the Pacific, and Asia. It was a very bloody time in our history, and families were kissing their men good-bye as they left with honor to fight for democracy’s survival against vicious dictators. So there was no time to be emotional. It was a time to do. Women were strong as they headed off to do work that would have before be deemed suitable only for men, such as the heavy manufacturing necessary to support the war effort. These women built the ships that carried their men to war, and the planes and weapons that drove our enemies back. So part of our job in this time in history is to be strong for the one who protects and serves as the war on cops battles on. They need our strength, not our tears.