The Last Photo

Two weeks ago, I went into our closet to pull out the pieces of my husband’s police uniform in order to make sure that everything was ironed and ready and that all of the components were there so that he could work his paid duty that evening. If you aren’t familiar with what paid duties are, they are extra shifts that we have counted on to pay for Christmas gifts and car repairs. We are blessed that my husband has the opportunity to pick up paid duties for the extra money that sometimes we are desperate for. I stay home and homeschool our four kids and every penny is needed. On this day, my husband had already worked his normal shift as a detective in the fraud branch of our fairly large police service. He had to pop home in between shifts for a quick dinner and kisses and snuggles with the kids before going in to work another eight hour shift on very little sleep. This story is told hundreds of times, every single day by police families. The rushed eating, the kids crying about not seeing Daddy enough that day, the wife doing the bedtime routine alone again.

Let me just say right now that this post is from my point of view so it is going to be about a husband, a father. I know wonderful female police officers who kiss their kids and husbands good bye, who nurse their babies after a long night shift, who squeeze their growing bellies into their uniforms, trying to protect the new life growing there from the kicks of big bad men that are resisting arrest. I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like to go to a priority call in the early stages of pregnancy. I cannot imagine working nights at eight months pregnant. I can’t imagine, with my mothering heart, holding a baby that has passed away. Our first responders, both male and female, alongside doctors and nurses face the horrors that most of us turn away from, on a daily basis. I stand behind them and support them with all that I am but this piece isn’t about them. It is about my guy, the father of my kids. I am writing about the man who has never once turned down a tickle fight with his kids even after the longest, most agonizing day. The man who instead of being crushed by yet another sudden death, comes home and holds me and focuses on what we have to be thankful for instead of letting the darkness grab hold.

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Saying goodbye to Daddy at the front window
So there I was, standing in our closet, looking at a sea of blue uniforms and I pulled out his bulletproof vest and I held it. Have you ever held your husband’s bulletproof vest? Few of us ever have to hold the only thing that could stand between a human heart and a bullet. It seems so thin but it is so heavy. It’s heavy both physically and emotionally. I see his name, stitched over and to the left of his heart. When he was first hired, their names were on pins but realizing that they could be injured by the sharp pin, the decision was made to move to the embroidered style of nametag. I see our last name, the name I took on the day that we spoke our vows… for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, til death do us part. I see the name that our children carry. I find his black, police issued pens everywhere. I pull them out of all of the pockets. I find his forage cap (police uniform hat) and our toddler grabs it runs around with it on her head. I pull out a black t-shirt from the large stack in his drawer and find black socks and make sure that he is dressed appropriately for the weather because it seems like he is always standing out in heavy rain, or a blizzard or a heat wave. Can you picture wearing that uniform in forty degree weather? Have you felt how heavy those boots are? My kids slip their little feet into daddy’s boots. Boots that have cut into his skin after standing at large festivals for eight hours straight. His eyes scan the crowd the entire time, on high alert, looking for drugs, weapons, suspicious activity and people come up to him and say things like, “Boy, you sure have an easy shift tonight” and he smiles past them, politely answers while never once breaking his moving gaze from the crowd that he is protecting. Boots that he has had to run in, through dark backyards, while hopping fences, chasing boys, twenty years younger. When was the last time that you hopped fences while the world slept?

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In Daddy’s boots
Obviously we knew what we were getting into when he first applied to be a police officer. Back then we only had one baby and I found comfort in the fact that if our babies lost their daddy, he would be a hero. Just like with most things in life, we had no idea what it would actually feel like until we were living it and if anyone is interested, they can feel free to apply with their local service or at the very least, apply for a ride along. I feel like at this point, I need again to point out how dangerous the world is for SO many people but there isn’t enough time to do that in detail so please, save those comments. I know there is pain everywhere. 

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His uniform is pulled together now and his dinner is hot and ready.  My husband is jumped on by four jubilant kids as he enters the door from work. He is dressed so nicely in his suit. He is in his second year of detectives and my worry has been massively eased, knowing that he is mostly working in a safe office now but we had many years of patrol and he will end up back on the road in a couple of years but for now, he’s safe in his tie and shiny shoes. He’s home on time and has a normal schedule after fourteen years of crazy schedules between the two of us. We chat as he stands at the counter and eats quickly. He listens enthusiastically to the kids’ stories of new Minecraft worlds and what birds visited our bird feeder today. I take his plate to the sink and he goes upstairs to get his uniform on. Layer upon layer, he is transformed into someone who is either a beacon of hope or someone to be feared and hated by others. I wish that both sides could see him, chatting cheerfully with me about his day, while buttoning up his shirt. I wish they could see the man behind the blue. The man that I will worry about until I hear his key in the front door while our kids sleep.

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The worrying doesn’t go away with time. I will never get used to a text that reads, “I’m going to be late, we had a gun call.” I cannot tell you how many times, I have paced in front of our windows, watching the roads become slick with ice, knowing that it’s three in the morning and that the salt trucks aren’t out in force yet and while the cruisers have snow tires on, we can’t afford them on our family car so he will be driving home, over dark roads, in the middle of the night, exhausted. I often wake up out of a dead sleep and reach immediately for my phone to see if he has texted. Is he going to be late again? Yes, every shift is busy now. The world is very different than it was nearly a decade ago when he was first hired.

I am sitting on our bed and am taken aback by how handsome he looks in his uniform. I still wonder how I got so lucky! We have twenty minutes left as a family before his second shift of the day starts. He could spend that time checking Facebook but instead he kneels beside his wife and four kids on the floor and he chooses to pray our nightly rosary with us. This man, who is about to face the evils that we are praying against, is humbled, on his knees and I steal glances at him, deep in prayer and I can never understand what could possibly be going through his head before stepping out into the night to be the one who protects the innocent while they sleep. Our seven year old son, leads us in the St. Michael prayer, the patron saint of police officers, and I ask my reluctant husband if he could just sit with the kids for a quick photo on the couch because these days, they rarely see him in uniform so I want to have a photo.

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Thank you Jen Linfield Photography for taking this photo
He doesn’t know that I call this photo, “the last photo.” He doesn’t know that I have a collection, spanning nearly a decade, of “last photos” just in case… There is only a small percentage of spouses out there that seriously have to say goodbye with their whole heart when their partner leaves for work. Do you know how it feels to discuss increasing his life insurance because the climate of the world is anti-police right now and I can’t afford to raise four kids on my own with our measly savings. The brutal truth is that I take this last photo so that I have an up-to-date photo in case the media needs it, in case he dies. This last time, I didn’t have the chance to get the kids out of their dinner stained pajamas so I edited it to be black and white so you don’t see the tomato sauce and peanut butter. He doesn’t know that my heart trembles while I take the photo, he looks so happy with his kids in his arms and they look so safe wrapped under him and all I can think about is “what if this is the last photo”… Grim? Macabre? Maybe…  but I don’t care. What if it is the last photo? I would be so thankful that I took it.

I would be so thankful that he spent those twenty minutes before leaving, on his knees, in prayer with his family.

I would be so thankful for those stolen glances at his perfect profile speaking the words, “…deliver us from evil…”

I was talking with a friend about this “last photo” this morning and she asked me to write this. She suggested that I ask all police spouses to share their own version of “the last photo,” to create a movement, to see the person behind the badge. Can you share this and ask those you know who are married to police officers if they are “ok”? Can you see if they need help when they are alone for the seventh evening in a row, putting kids to sleep? Can you send them a message when the media reports another horrific police death because let me tell you, we all bleed blue and cry for those who have fallen because they are one of our own. I see my tears on their wives faces and my children standing beside the casket.

I wish that I never had to write this but I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to open up about my deepest fear because the family waiting at home often keeps these things locked up at home because we have heard it all before and have learned to grow a thick skin. I don’t want to become a jaded police wife. We aren’t those people. My heart cries out for justice for ALL the victims and fatherless families. My heart aches for all of the mothers who are tucking their kids into bed alone tonight. This isn’t us versus them. This isn’t my pain versus yours. I just wanted to let you know that when you see a photo of my husband and kids on one of my social media accounts, what you didn’t know is that while I was taking it, I was hoping and praying that this photo would not become the last photo

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119 thoughts on “The Last Photo

  1. This is beautifully written, full of vulnerability, transparency and love. Frankly, it tore me up. I understand as a former law enforcement officer (LEO), and as a wife of an active LEO. While we do not often wear the uniform, I identified with it, and cried while reading it.

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  2. This is so beautifully written & speaks words that I’ve only thought to myself, to scared to say them out loud. My hubby has been a officer for 20 years now; I remember all the missed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries & more. Our daughter is 19yrs old now & I can honestly & whole heartedly been in your shoes! Keeping vigil for my LEO husband, your LEO as well as every other LEO out there risking their lives to protect & serve!!!!!! 💙🙏🏻 #backtheblue #bluefamily #bluelivesmatter

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  3. I wept upon reading this. I never really give much thought to the potentially last moment, yet love the sound of velcro when my husband puts on and takes off his vest. When we married, he worked in the courthouse from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, a month later he returned to the road. So I was a new wife raising the two children I inherited by marriage while working full time as a public defender. It was and is hard. I pray for your family and all LEO families. God Bless.

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  4. This is beautifully written. I am the daughter of a police officer that was killed LOD. I wish I had a last photo of my dad, my brother and I. I pray every day for all police officers and their families. Thank you to your husband for his service and to you for your sacrifices. XO

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  5. I’m married to a 30 year vet of law enforcement. I myself served as a dispatcher In southern California prior to the birth of our first child, so I came into the marriage with an understanding. Having children kicked it up a notch, however. We have since moved to Baltimore where my husband recently suffered the loss of one of his SWAT officers on duty, under his command, so I know all too well the reality of what potentially awaits our family. Thank you for sharing perfectly what this unique life is like on a very personal level. It’s so comforting to know that there are other police families who are finding refuge in their Catholic faith.

    I’ve been blessed and strengthened by your sisterhood and I will be remembering you and your family in prayer. Stay strong, especially in this anti cop environment.

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    1. Beautiful article. You did a wonderful job putting into words how the wives of police officers feel. My husband was a police officer. He worked patrol, detectives, and narcotics. His favorite was the years in narcotics. He loved his job and was very passionate about it, but like you I worried. Will the drug deal go bad? How are all these chemicals effecting him when he cleans up meth labs? I don’t think people understand how stressful the job of police officer is and how hard it is on them physically. I remember waiting by the phone when they were serving search warrants or during drug raids, waiting to know he was safe and the criminals were in custody. My husband had problems with kidney stones, but he often went to work, ignoring the pain so he could complete his shift. The day after he had surgery for his kidney stones, he had a massive heart attack in his sleep and died in our bed. When I called 911, our Blue Family came to help, but there wasn’t anything they could do but hold us. So I understand. I have our last family photo, and the last photos of him with our 2 kids on our last family trip. We will always treasure our photos of him and all the wonderful memories of our hero. Our Blue Family came together and gave him a beautiful funeral. Our children and I were surrounded by people who loved and respected our daddy. It meant the world to us. Now our daddy is our guardian angel.♡ Bless your husband and all our peacekeepers and their families who love and support them.

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing your story and giving an insight to what it feels like to be a wife of a man in Blue. My husband has proudly served our city for over 32 years. I have spent many a night praying for his safe return home to me and our 2 sons. Our marriage has survived a major bombing in our city and multiple tornadoes, all of which took my husband away from home and once again into harms way while helping others. He gears up daily with a smile on his face most days. He loves his job, his city and the opportunity to serve and protect it despite the recent retaliation against those sworn to protect. Keep sharing your story. It’s helpful to many that spend days and or nights praying, worrying and anxiously waiting for their loved one to
      come home. Keep taking those pictures.
      Love from Oklahoma City!

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      1. Jackie, my grandfather, John W. Lill, became a police trainer in OKC after he retired from the FBI in the early 70s– he would have been working there when your husband started working in OKC. My grandfather was part of a truly special “family” during his time there– much love and gratitude to your husband and to you and your family (as to the Murray family!) for his service. You are most certainly in my prayers!

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  6. May the Lord continue to carry you all through this police life, and bless you with many more amazing moments to capture in photos! Thank you for the real, true and raw whispers of your heart!
    We Blue families must stick together!

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  7. I cried reading your post. My husband and I are both Police Officers, we have 3 beautiful children whom I worry deeply about. I myself lost my father at 6 weeks old and know the empty space of a parent. One I don’t want my kids to experience.
    While both of us are in “less dangerous” assignments as well, we also work the extras for the added cash. Putting that uniform on adds an extra panic in my kids. One daughter runs to the garage and waves bye, then scrambles to the front porch to wave again. I once asked “Why?” She said ” in case it’s my last” What do I say to that? Another says “I’m going to marry a Policeman” She says likes being a part of the Blue Family and wants to keep that forever. It is heartbreaking that they know… They know the danger, the sacrifice and the dedication,all for others that some would just as soon see us dead. Thank you for your perspective and prayers to you and your family .

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  8. God Bless your husband and all of the men and women in uniform that risk their lives to protect us. There are still people that respect and appreciate what they do.. God Bless the families that worry , pace the floor, and take care and love these people.. May God watch over all of you…

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  9. Thanks for speaking to my heart. Our boy is grown, so ‘last photos’ are hard to come by, for this, and because DH hates his picture taken. But I think about it, all the time, and it scares me deep inhale pit of my stomach. All wive who weep at those funerals have me standing there with them, my tears falling too, even though they don’t know it. I have never been so worried for my family, and that is a hard place to live.

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  10. Thank you for putting into words what we all think – in the wee hours of the morning waiting to hear the door lock. It’s rare we hear someone else who “gets” what our lives are like. 💙

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  11. Thanks for writing this. I can’t say I enjoyed it….because it’s so painful to know how real death is to our Peace Officers. My beloved nephew died just three years ago. He wrote a letter to his then ten year old son. How brave is that, to not just think about writing the letter, but writing it. Knowing you might be murdered, but goes to work anyway.
    Every time another officer is murdered I cry, as I did reading what you wrote here. I pray that this won’t happen everyday, but it does. I’m so sorry for the Officers and their families. God Bless all of you.

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  12. My husband was a police officer, detective, street crimes officer for 15 yrs. he left the job because he didn’t feel safe anymore. He suffered with PTSD and had nightmares of being harmed, attacked. He began hurting himself to deal with the stress, anxiety. He sought help, worked as a truck driver and load supervisor for another 10 yrs. Then, four days before our 25th anniversary he took his own life. He kept his inner turmoil private, rarely shared it with me. Always seemed fine on the outside. The knock on the door came to me at 3:20 am. I always expected it when he was a cop, but not ten yrs later. He never really left the job. He always felt like a cop. Always wore his gun, his retired commission. These terrible losses break my heart. I pray for all those on, or off the job. Bless you, bless him, bless the men and women in blue!!

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    1. Kellie, thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you have gone through and will continue to go through. PTSD is a nightmare and it sounds like our police services in Canada are starting to finally take it seriously after a high rate of suicides over the last year. I am so sorry that you have lived this first hand and the fact that it happened after all those years, after you finally started to feeling like he was “safe” because he was no longer in policing is doubly tragic. You sound like an amazing woman with strength and faith to carry you through each day. You are in my prayers now. I will keep your name in my prayer journal. Thank you again for sharing. May you find peace in God’s unending love and grace. Xo

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    2. I am SO sorry for your loss, and all of our loss for not having him in this world anymore. PTSD is horrid and mental health has such a stigma attached to it and while I know he sought help it just hurts my heart for you and he that it wasn’t enough. I am not from a blue family, green or even red but I pray daily for all of you. The LEOs, the dispatch, the first responders all of them and their family and loved ones for the sacrifices made to keep us safe.

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  13. I can feel for you. My father was a police officer for 38 1/2 years. He retired in 1989, when things weren’t so bad, but still scary. My 31 year old son has been on that same police force for 9 years. He and his wife have two children that I watch when they work. My daughter in law is a firefighter/paramedic. When she was six months pregnant with their second child she had two bad calls in one shift. A two year old pulled a pot of boiling water off of the stove onto himself. The other, a young girl had a miscarriage in the toilet and my daughter in law had to cut the umbilical cord.

    They have been on many fatal calls at the same time. I pray for them both every day and night (as well as for all of his brothers and sisters in blue).

    Prayers for all EMS workers 🙏

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  14. Thank you for sharing….I am married to a 19 year veteran of our police department and I know all too well the feelings that you share. I am fortunate that my husband has been a detective for the last 9 years so the graveyard shifts, weekends away, and OT shifts have eased some but I know that it can all change in an instant.

    I remember my husband giving our baby boys, who are now 12 and 13 baths and sweet kisses before leaving for work every night. I remember the sleepless nights when he was late, wondering what happened, praying he was safe and only feeling relief when I heard our garage door opening. My heart sinks now when I hear my 12 year old son say, “I wish daddy wasn’t a police officer” when he sees the horror of Dallas and Baton Rouge in the news.

    I try to talk to my husband about it, but we are both afraid to speak about the reality of his job, although we both know any picture, any moment, can truly be the last…….Instead we focus on the now, cherish what we have in each moment and pray our silent unending prayers for his safety.

    Prayers for all the men and women in blue and the families that love them.

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  15. My husband was a policeman for 15 years and I felt so many of the same fears and feelings you have. I remember he even missed his own birthday dinner party because he was called out. He missed so much because he was always late coming home due to shots fired, missing child, domestic violence, back-up needed, suicide, court took longer than expected, needed bilingual officer, and it went on and on. The 10 hour shifts were always stretched to twelve or longer. Then department changes introduced the twelve hour shift which stretched to 14 or 16 and some longer until the job was done and reports written. The nights and days he got more than four to five hours sleep were rare. It was always a blessing to hear him take off his kevlar at night. I could then breathe a sigh of relief…he was home safe! The job was very stressful and he could not go to sleep after an eventful night or day. I remember him telling me once after he responded to a suicide where a woman shot herself in the head, that I just didn’t really know all the sad, ugly scenes that ran through his head. It was stressful on me to know he had to deal with such horrible things and that he could not rest. Besides his regular shifts, on days off, he worked second jobs as security for businesses, special events, local school football and basketball games, private parties, and anywhere else he could so that we had the things we needed in life. He rarely ate healthy because what was open at 2:00 a.m. in the morning while he was on duty? Not much. So many meals were a quickly grabbed slice of pizza from the convenience store or a bag of chips and soda. When he and fellow officers did sit down to a meal, they frequently were called out and would not get to finish. It happened so much that local restaurants would know to bag up the uneaten food and send it to the PD. The stress was always hidden beneath the big smile he wore, greeting the public as if they were his best friends. He regularly volunteered at the school were I was a fourth grade teacher, reading to my students in English, then Spanish, presenting the Drug Awareness program to several grade levels at different schools, doing Career Day presentations, speaking with difficult students with issues, and always getting his fellow officers together to grill hotdogs for my students’ End of School Luau. He was my best friend and I loved him more than life itself. But the stress eventually took him from me. One morning at 4:00 a.m. he came in from a long night, laid his duty belt with all that gear on the dresser, undressed, pulled off his kevlar, pants, and just as he removed one sock, slid to the floor. His hand reaching up for me, I dialed 911 and tried to lift him back onto our bed. From that point on it was a blur for me. The rush of responders, EMT’s, fellow officers in my hallway, the ambulance, the ER and the 100 mph drive by my sister, us following the ambulance because lifeflight could not fly due to bad weather…I was in a trance. But it was real and one day later I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life….to let him go. My life since then has been as though I am walking in a bad dream. My LEO, my love, my best friend who had selflessly devoted his life to our conmunity and our family was gone…..forever.

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    1. I am SO sorry for your loss. The common, everyday citizen that doesn’t live the life will never understand just what you all go through. You and your family are in my prayers.

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  16. Thank you, to your husband for his service. And thank you for being strong and raising a beautiful family. My husband has been in law enforcement for over 40 years … Local, Louisiana State Police and Federal!! My 2 sons are also in law enforcement!! I worry every day!! The only thing that gets me threw it is that they put that uniform everyday with PRIDE! THEY LOVE EVERYDAY OF WORK…..,,more than most people can say when they go to work!! We have to pray for them everyday and trust in God’s will!! May The Lord Be With You and your Family!
    💙👮🏻💙👮🏻💙

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  17. I have been married to a police officer for 33 years. He recently retired after 39 years of service. We raised our 3 children working opposite shifts, different days off, and him working his extra jobs. Those jobs that paid more an hour then when he was on the streets as a patrol Sargent. Those extra jobs that put me through school, paid for Christmas and vacation, that sometimes even put food on the table. He is my hero, in he is my rock, and he is my knight in shining armor. We weathered the early storms and and made it to days with weekends off!

    I have held him when he has cried over the death of a strangers child and visited him in the the hospital when some fool stored toxic chemicals in a garage that caught on fire. But he LOVED HIS JOB, and I love him. So we weathered the storms together, the fights, the car accidents, the shooting. They are all part of what makes him a hero.

    But I am thankful that he is retired and not dealing with the tension and hate on the streets today. Our children, grandchildren, and I hope to have him to love and hold for many years to come.

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  18. I left a reply that wasn’t posted! My Husband has been in law enforcement for 40+ years! And Both of my sons r law enforcement I L💙VE AND HATE THE UNIFORM!! They Love it everyday! THATS ALL WE HAVE IS THE PRAYERS THAT WE PRAY!’

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    1. It was posted now. Sorry about that, I have to approve every comment and I was sleeping. I’m just getting up now and approving everything. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. You’re so right, all we have is prayers and I know that I forget sometimes that that is all I need. God bless you, your husband and sons.

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  19. Beautiful post. I cannot imagine living this life daily always wondering. Know I am praying for our officers and families. You have a beautiful family.

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  20. Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
    Amen.

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  21. I don’t know what’s its like to be married to a police officer but reading this I can only imagine what you all go through. Things have definitely changed over time and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones who continue to serve and protect us.
    Reading this brought tears to my eyes and I wish others could see that law enforcement is what keeps us all safe!!

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  22. My Dad was a police officer for 36 years. My siblings and I watched my Dad leave everyday with a kiss and hug. It was different for us in those days, while still dangerous, certainly much less so than now. What we didn’t realize was every time my Dad walked out that door, my Mom was worried until he walked back in safe and sound. We came from a police family: dad, uncle, godfather, cousins, and friends. Just like today, the Blue Family was there if and when needed. Unless you’ve lived the life, it’s almost impossible to understand. In every barrel, there are a couple of bad apples, whether police or civilians. What’s wrong is when people on both sides blame the majority and not the minority.

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  23. Thank you for sharing your heart and story. I wish all law enforcement officers could be respected and protected as they set out to protect us from the dangers of our world. Our children depend on law enforcement to keep our schools, neighborhoods, cities, states and ultimately our nation safe. I hope your article leads to a movement that protects your husband and the many officers that go to work each day. God bless.

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  24. Hi! This post touched me SO much. I am the editor of ForEveryMom dot com, a parenting site, and I’d love to republish this on our site with your headshot and bio as author, and a link back to the original. Can you email me to discuss at jrapson at outreach dot com? Thank you SO much for these touching words!

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  25. I am the daughter of a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper. I lived a life that was different from my peers just like you & countless others. A life that no one understood unless they too lived it. The stress, grief, terror, sadness & sacrifices were not only felt by my father, the whole family lived it. We didn’t have to hear his stories (and we kids never did) to feel the emotion of the day in the air.
    There were a few times that my fathers chosen profession placed our family in harms way. Once, an escaped prisoner hid in the tall cornfield behind our home taking shots at the windows in the middle of the night. Imagine being just 7 years old, grabbed off of your bed then shoved under it & told to stay there and don’t move! Screaming sirens with red lights flashing through your bedroom window as your home becomes a war zone. Absolutely terrifying! So you see, unless you lived it, no one would ever be able to understand.
    I remember my father as a miserable, stern, yet caring man. I can honestly say I didn’t like him much as a child. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I finally understood why he wasn’t the fun Dad that I had always wanted him to be. I don’t know how it is in other states but here in PA our Troopers work a bizarre & unrelenting schedule of mixed shifts day to day. Sleep deprivation played a key role in my fathers mood so between that, the stress of the job & raising a family, my father was not a light hearted soul. Exhausted. Always on high alert. Never relaxed.
    Just a few short years after his retirement from law enforcement I watched my Dad tirelessly care for my mother every single hour of her battle with cancer. I watched helplessly as they lost everything he worked so hard for as my mothers illness progressed. My father, for the first time in his life, was broken when my mom lost her fight with cancer & died just days before her 62nd birthday. My Dad was and still is totally devoted to my mom. That’s just who he is & I couldn’t be more proud of him!
    These days I’m happy to be able to see him working as a security guard at a local hospital. He has softened quite a bit over the last 20 years. His face is more relaxed, his heart lighter and he has become the father I always needed him to be! I’m so thankful & blessed that we were given the opportunity to develop our relationship over the years.
    God bless each man & woman who, in the past or present, sacrifices so much of themselves and their lives to protect us from all of the evil in this world!!!! Each one of them is my hero & I have nothing but love in my heart for each person who chooses to run toward danger in an effort to protect, help, save us !!! Thank you!!

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  26. Thank you for writing this. I wish everybody could live even ONE day in the shoes of a blue family. I am sharing this across all my social media and reblogging. Your heart speaks SO clearly what others truly need to read and understand. Thank you for your service and your husband’s service.

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  27. beautifully written..My husband served for just shy of 30 years, my daughter now does, son in law, nephew, (my grandfather before that) ..yes the bullet proof vest, the heat the female side of policing, the worrying, the family adjustments, times have certainly changed and society has too.. in the late 60’s and early 70s it was now it’s cell phones editing reality, minority groups that have not been able to resolve the problems and issues they left behind for the enjoyment of their new home..mental health issues with no services causing police officers to handle that job too, street gangs, drugs, violence and readily available weapons in the wrong hands. The thin blue line is being pushed against by so many sides including those that we would think would be most supportive of them…their employers. Time for society to realize the vulnerability of society were it not for our officers!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. My first words/thoughts were the same as Leann’s “Just…Bless you” Because I was speechless. This story is so brave, so true, so heart-wrenching. I support our men and women in Blue and honor them. Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

  29. Wow. This is a very powerful article. Never think you are not a gifted writer. You are. Your very heart and soul are powerfully displayed in this article. I read some of the comments and you all are spot on. We, not in the “trade” so to speak, do NOT understand or even begin to comprehend what you all live with on a daily basis. I will not forget after reading this article. My prayers are with you and your families.

    Like

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