I don't supposed I ever contemplated that it would get personal. Not like this. I'm one of the most cynical people I know. Decades working in high conflict family law has led me to be a person with an extremely low tolerance for bullsh*t. I can spot drama a mile away and have absolutely no patience for it. I'm an older police wife, 45 years old, old, old to be exact. Most of my children are grown, in college and the little one that showed up with autism and a slew of medical issues is simply another blessing disguised as a challenge to this well seasoned mom. I've learned to keep walls up which prevent personal emotion from disrupting my life. I have no time for tears. Too much to get done, it's called life. We deal with it or let it rule us... no one rules the emotions of this chick. I've made my mistakes, I've learned, I've grown into the seasoned veteran police wife and no nonsense mother that it takes to be a success in my world. Well.....wasn't I surprised when all of that fell apart in the form of sobbing tears at the realization that yet another one of my sisters in blue had lost her love? Perhaps I'm not as strong as I think I am. Perhaps I'm much like so many of us.... waiting for a moment, a circumstance, a situation that brings us to our knees and reminds us exactly how human we really are.
I woke up on Monday morning to learn yet another one of my sisters in blue had lost her husband. As I scrolled through my news feed I saw a sea of blue. Blue roses, thin blue lines, the same badge over and over displayed as a profile pic. I saw sisters from across Texas and the nation united. I saw what I always see. I saw what I have seen too many times to count. As I continued to scroll I noticed how many of those profiles in my newsfeed were surviving spouses themselves. I don't know why it had never really hit me like that before, but Monday it flooded my heart like a tsunami. I went to my friends list. As the tears fell I counted..... three.....five....six....ten......fifteen......twenty seven..... I had to stop. How did this happen to so many of my own sisters in blue? Well.... I know the answer, after all, I'm the one who thought it was a good idea to start telling the world about how it happens years ago. Monday I realized just how high I have built those walls of protection from the reality of what I write about. I realized when they came crashing down in a heap in the pit of my stomach.
All that being said, it didn't last long before I did what I always do.... find a way to deal, push through and move forward. How blessed am I that my love is still here which makes it quite easy for me to find plenty to hold on to.....that's exactly the thought that came to mind. I corrected myself quickly. I corrected myself because I know better. Despite those walls I have built for myself, one thing I have continued to do is listen...and learn. I have had no better teacher than each of those survivors. I refuse to call them widows. Not a single one seems like a widow to me. They are not victims, not one of them. They are each remarkable pillars of hope and strength and positivity and knowledge.... they are wise. They are full of life. I watch, I listen, I read as they all work through their periodic moments of pain. I watch as the anniversary photos come up year after year. I listen as they talk to the stars and the moon, reliving precious memories. I also watch as they continue to live and laugh and love and make a new life for themselves. I watch and listen as they teach me that no matter how much pain you have lived through there is tomorrow. There is one step at a time.
This week I have watched and listened to those like me, who still have their loves.... I have watched as they have formed a circle of love and support around our sister April. I have watched state lines and distance evaporate. I have watched as disbelief, pain, anger, sadness has changed into tones of support, love and dedication to this sisterhood. I have felt the silent guilt of many as we all secretly thank God it hasn't become us, I have felt many of us reach out to let our spouses know exactly what they mean to us.... I have heard the collective cries for the pain of a mother and a family that could easily become any of us.
Yes, this week I realized just how many sisters I know who have lost their loves. I have also been reminded just exactly how it is they were able to take those first steps into the next day after loss..... they were never alone.
May God be with April, Audrey and Johnnie's family. May each and every one of us remember we are wives on duty. Our duty most days is to our spouse.... but there are days our duty is to carry our own through loss.