22 years ago I had moved to Houston from North Carolina following a soldier who had been transferred to Ft. Sam in San Antonio. I had recently been discharged from the Army where I had met him and had gotten a job with a national eye glass chain (National Vision Associates), so, when this soldier was transferred, I asked for a transfer as well. The closest they could get me to San Antonio was Houston. I'd never been to Texas, but it seemed like a nice enough place, so I packed my truck up with as much as I could and let the Army move the bulk of my household belongings to a small apartment I had rented off of Beechnut street in Southwest Houston.
Being from small town Utah, I was immediately overwhelmed simply by the size of the freeways! But, I was excited about my new life, and my new job. I had been told if I was willing to move to Houston instead of San Antonio that they were expanding their stores here and I would be a store manager. It was worth the distance in my mind.
I spent all my off time driving back and forth to San Antonio to visit my boyfriend and really didn't know anyone in Houston except the people I worked with, who if I was off work, they were there and vice versa. So, when that relationship ended I was left in a big city where I knew no one. One of my friends at work and I were reading the Zest section of the newspaper where they had the personal ads and she suggested that I put an ad out. I really didn't want another relationship at that time, because I was still pretty upset about my break up, but I figured that way at least people could show me around town. So, I put an ad in the paper. I went around town with a couple of people, but there was one that stood out. From the first phone call we just simply clicked. We were instant friends. These days you might say we were instant besties ;) A few days after our first date I had an unexplained sharp pain. I didn't know what to do, or where to go, so I called him to take me to the hospital. Once we were at the hospital a nurse came in, handed him a bed pan, and said, "Make your wife pee".... and walked out. We had been on one date!!! He looked at me and said, "What do you want me to do?" I was in so much pain that I didn't care, so he held the bedpan while I went to the bathroom..... Turned out I had a kidney stone, and we apparently had a prophetic nurse, because that man is now my husband of 21 years next week!
Why do I go down memory lane today? Because there is no part of this story that is without a simple thread that weaves in out of our lives. That thread is blue. It is known as the Thin Blue Line. You see, my husband is a police officer. When I started dating him it was exciting to be dating a police officer. Such an exciting thing to be dating a man who stands up for the little guy and protects those who need protecting.
When we married he told me I should use caution on who I told that I was married to a police officer. I was completely surprised. I had never been anything but extremely proud of him and other officers I had met (even when being pulled over LOL). He explained that some people do not like police officers and may even treat me poorly because of him. At first, I didn't believe him. But, over time in various different interactions with people I found out he was right. I learned to guard my family like a precious jewel. As my children came along and went to school, they too, learned that not everyone loves our law enforcement officers. I will never forget the day that my oldest came home at 6 years old absolutely devastated. He was crying and I finally got him to tell me what was wrong. An officer had recently been killed in our area. Turns out some kids at school had been taunting him, telling him his dad would get killed next. This was only one in a string of different experiences we've all had with people who would wish harm to law enforcement officers.
Fast forward to the past few years and the nationwide narrative towards law enforcement has gotten very scary. Officer Line of Duty Deaths are up 17% already this year, and that is following 2016 which was the deadliest year ever for Law Enforcement. Every day that my officer goes off to work I am scared he won't come home. I've lost many friends in recent years because they don't understand how their support of pages who wish harm on law enforcement directly affect my husband's safety. I've seen more lines of worry on his face in the last few years than ever before, and there is a sadness in his eyes that I can't touch. He hasn't been physically hurt, but this man who has devoted himself to helping society has been hurt by the very society he serves each day.
I would be remiss to speak on this blog about all of the things that make my life the way it is and not speak about law enforcement. Today, is the 1 year anniversary of the attack on law enforcement that occurred in Dallas.
"Police Officer Brent Thompson of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, Police Officer Michael Krol, Sergeant Michael Smith, and Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa of the Dallas Police Department were shot and killed by an active shooter during a protest in downtown Dallas.
As the protesters walked down Main Street between South Lamar Street and South Market Street, a sniper opened fire on police officers who were providing security for the event. The man shot a total of 12 officers, killing five and wounding seven.
The subject was cornered in an adjacent parking garage and barricaded himself inside for several hours while he spoke to negotiators, during which time he stated he specifically targeted white police officers. He was killed when the Dallas Police Department's Bomb Squad moved an explosive device to the man's location using a robot and detonated it." (odmp.org)
Even in the changing climate of today, where we are led to support officers by our current president, there are still those who wish to harm them. Just a few days ago an officer was killed in San Antonio, and he is being laid to rest today, on this somber anniversary.
As you go about your daily doings, please know that those who stand on the sidelines watching over you, standing watch for you are real people, who have real hearts, and real families who love them. They have real pain in their eyes as they've seen things no one wants to see, and that can't be unseen. They miss holidays, birthdays, and other events and their wife or husband is often in bed alone.
When they are lost, parents are without their sons and daughters who have fallen, left with only the grattitude of those their child served after their death. Children are left with out parents, wives without husbands, husbands, without wives. Those who are still here, who have lost co-workers are left with the knowledge that tomorrow is never promised and the burden of knowing each moment could be their last. They often suffer from survivors guilt, or PTSD or more and never get the rest we all need.
Being married to a police officer is not like other things in life. This thin blue line that gets ever thinner is weaved throughout our lives, always a part of us. It's a part of who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in. We believe in the greater good of society. We believe that people should have the basic protections of law enforcement no matter their social status, race, or economic situation. We believe in these basic liberties for all people regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. Even when people do not believe the same for us, we still believe for them, and sacrifice daily for this belief, as a family.