death

Today I Kissed My Love Goodbye

Today I kissed my love goodbye.

“Don’t forget your dinner!” “Do you have your gun and shield?” “Beep the horn for Lucas when you drive away!” “Come home safe!”

I kissed my love goodbye – and watched him walk away.

Every day.

All these years of practicing this same routine and it somehow has gotten harder instead of easier. That voice inside me wondering – was that the last time?

Was that the last time I’ll feel your lips pressed against mine and feel the strong, firm touch of your hands around me?

Was that the last time your children will yell “Bye, Dad! See you when you get here!” and wait for your return with their faces pressed against the window?

Will you be that faceless man who is called a hero for a week, and then slips from memory? Will I be that wife who is handed a folded flag, sobbing eyes hidden behind dark glasses, a chilling picture of both strength and heartbreak, whose children cling to her as their father is carried away?

I have seen that wife too many times in recent months. Each time it is the same. 

They call her husband a hero – but then they easily forget his sacrifice- and hers. While he is alive, they taunt him, doubt him, curse him – and then when he dies, they give speeches and try to honor his name.

This wife doesn’t want a dead hero. She wants the laughter and love of the man beside her. She wants the man who has seen inside her heart – and stayed to love her. She wants the man who catches her eye across a roomful of noisy littles and laughingly yells, “Hey, let’s take our coffee outside and call it a date!!” She wants that man, not a hero in the ground.

The days go by so quickly, but the nights are long. Those hours in the quiet darkness are a blessing and a curse, part of the endless push and pull of this life.

Today I kissed my love goodbye and while my lips spoke all the same mundane words, my heart called out: “Please don’t go. Today, don’t go. Stay here where you are safe, where you are loved.”

But I don’t say that.

I say: “Have a good night, dearest! Don’t forget your dinner! Come home safe!”

And then I kiss my love goodbye – and watch him walk away.

xoxo,

Anna

 

 

Not Just A Job

Not Just A Job

There’s another side to police life. There’s a part you don’t see in the media. There’s something they don’t tell you when they hand your loved one the uniform to wear, and the gun to carry.
They tell you it will be a difficult life, that there will be challenges, stress, and sometimes horror. You hear about the disappointment, the loneliness, and the frustration of a schedule that is constantly changing. You learn all too quickly to live with the fear of death or injury knocking at the door. It becomes routine to kiss him goodbye, and wonder if it was for the last time.

But they never told me that seeing his strength in the face of the unimaginable would make me love him more.

I didn’t know that all those nights spent lonely without him would make our time together infinitely more precious.

I didn’t realize that all the what ifs of this life would make the now so important to us both.

They never told me that even when I cried, I’d be so incredibly humbled by the character, the honor, and the compassion I saw in him, often challenged, but never broken.

In those dark moments, when the grief was too overwhelming and words meant nothing, when I watched him put his uniform back on, and strap his gun to his belt, his heart battered, but never weak – I would come to understand that this “job” is not just a job, but a call, and that we must answer it together, always.

He tends the city, while I tend our home. He looks death in the face – but in his children he finds life. He is surrounded by hatred, anger, injustice, and despair – but in his home, there is peace, faith, hope and love. Out there he is often doubted and disrespected – here he is honored and cherished.

He walks a path of constant uncertainty but he will always know this: here, in his home, is his sanctuary, where he is seen, respected, and loved.

My husband is a Police Officer, and I am proud to be his wife.

xoxo,
Anna

I Choose Love

I Choose Love

 

I had so many conversations over the last few days. Difficult conversations.

I was forced to consider things from a different perspective, and realized that the more open my heart is, the more room there is for love.

Right now the world is noisy and full of hate. But that changes one person at a time. We are the world.

Today – every day – I choose Love.

Be safe, be the good, come home to me – always!

xoxo, Anna

Only Good Is Here

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My heart has been so heavy these last few days.

I went through all the steps, but I honestly wasn’t feeling motherhood.

I wanted time to think, to grieve, to be. I wanted a few minutes alone. I needed to not be needed, just for a little while.

But… 4 kids.

4 kids too young to understand these feelings.

And then today I watched them playing, making “kid burritos” with a blanket, and their baby laughter soothed my heart.

Lost in play, so blissfully unaware of the things that adults find so important.

Life is simple. Love is simple.

There is only good here.

xoxo, Anna

Will You Remember?

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Is it possible to get used to death? Is it possible for something so dreaded to become an expectation in the face of reality, rather than a vague possibility?

We lost another brother, the fourth to be killed in only ten months. NYPD Police Officer (now Detective) Randolph Holder was shot point blank in the head, while in pursuit of an armed robber with a rap sheet a mile long.

Oh, but that’s “just his job,” isn’t it? It’s “what he signed up for” when he entered a police force that underpays and overworks every one of its officers. Until last December, there had been only one NYPD officer killed in the line of duty over a span of 7 years. Now we have lost 4 in 10 months. Will you remember them? Will their names be honored?

The good will fight the evil – always – but now we are living in a time when evil is encouraged, rather than beaten down; when it is the good who must fight to survive against all odds; when the court of public opinion works so fast and so viciously that the facts almost never matter anymore. It is a time when a uniform that once meant honor and respect is now a target. It is not just a target for a criminal with a gun, but a target for ignorant minds, deceptive tongues, and hateful hearts.

It is a time when my husband has to assess his audience in social settings before he shares his occupation. It is a time when there is often a sudden and obvious change of tone when he says he is an NYPD cop. Now, when he answers a call while on duty, he is cursed and spit on, and many times he has been told, “I wish someone would shoot YOU in the head!”

And yet, when that call comes – he answers.

He answers to the battered woman who has finally found the strength to walk away. He answers the cry of the little girl, whose father has put her in hell on earth. He holds the tiny body of a baby lost amid the chaos and torment of drugs and crime, and as the lifeless little fingers touch his, he thinks of his babies at home.
His heart will never be the same.
He fights the man three times his size, made more powerful by drugs, who just violently beat an elderly man… but when he cuffs him, the crowd screams “police brutality,” and curses his name.  He sees demons on the streets, and relives their presence in his dreams. He listens to the chatter around him, and he knows they cannot understand his thoughts. He walks alone, even in a crowd, always watching, always listening, always so painfully aware of that side of humanity most of us are never near.

They keep it away from us. Those men and women in blue uniforms, weighed down by so much more than the gear they carry – they are the reason we live the way we do. That criminal never made it into your home because they stopped him, and that little girl has a chance to heal her broken mind and body because they pulled her out of hell. It is a losing battle, some would say, against crime and against evil, but they will never stop fighting.

Police Officer Randolph Holder. 33 years old. Third generation police officer. Gunned down, shot in the head by a savage who thought robbing a bike was more important than a man’s life. For everyone who feels comfortable smugly judging police from behind their screens, remember this: they are quite literally giving their lives for your safety. They are facing nightmares you never will, and are tormented by memories you can’t imagine. They are leaving their own babies and spouses and families behind, at a greater risk than you will ever take. They are crying for a brother lost, whose name you will not remember. But they are still here, heads held high, ready to put on that uniform and carry that shield, to fight the fight again today.

Remember him. Remember ALL OF THEM. They are giving their lives for you.

xoxo, Anna

Tomorrow – Who Is Next?

NYPD

I woke up this morning and saw his face everywhere. I kept hoping that it was just another rumor, and that someone had it wrong. I felt the ache wash over me, that pain in my heart that had only just begun to heal.

I saw his face, his body dressed in that familiar blue, his eyes made serious for his official picture. 25 years old – and gone. Officer Brian Moore. Who will mourn him? Who will even remember his name?  The names of violent criminals have become common on the lips of everyone in this country, while he, and the thousands more like him go quietly to their graves, their sacrifice deemed less important on the nightly news than the birth of a royal child overseas or a has-been celebrity’s big announcement.

There is no way to explain what happened. Not this time, nor any other.

All the feelings rush in, all over again. Horror at the act, rage at the injustice, relief that it wasn’t my own who died, and guilt over that relief. “Hey, did you hear about that cop who was shot?” I hear people casually ask in the store, and I struggle to hold back my tears. Has it come to this? His brutal and vicious murder is merely another topic over lunch break?

My husband’s eyes are full of pain, betrayal. Another life lost, but no connection will be made in the minds of the public. The criminals and the evil hearts grow more confident by the day, sure that whatever happens, they will riot and yell and throw nation-wide tantrums until they have beaten the good into the ground.

But the good never dies forever. You can burn the cities, pillage the stores, spit on their graves, and accuse them unjustly, and yet tomorrow my husband will once again stand up and serve. He will put on that uniform and wear it proudly, his heart battered but never weak.

He will walk the streets you are afraid to travel.

He will face the horror you see only on your screens.

He will hold the bruised, beaten body of a toddler and sing her the lullabies he sings to his children.

He will watch young people throw their lives away, buying into the lies and agenda of rich, soul-less politicians, and his helplessness will make him angry.

He will try desperately to hold onto his humanity, sometimes by the smallest thread, even while he is surrounded by man’s inhumanity to man.

And I –  every day, I will kiss him goodbye, never sure that I will feel his lips on mine again. Every knock, every phone call will fill me dread, and every news report will make me scream inside. Today, Officer Moore. Tomorrow – who is next?

Tonight, I will fall asleep in his arms, sure that for these few hours, he is safe and he is well.

Tomorrow – we will begin it all again.

xoxo, Anna

9 Days Later…

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Well, that was… interesting. I’ve been blogging in my quiet little corner over here for almost exactly a year now. It has always been just for my own entertainment, and for sharing with friends and family. I fully anticipate fading back into happy oblivion within the next couple weeks. 😉

Prior to last week, I believe the most shares I’d ever gotten on a blog post was 84. As of now, my last post, “You Betrayed Them,” has been shared about 360,000 times – and that’s just on Facebook. Kind of a jump, obviously, and one that I wasn’t in the least bit prepared for.

A couple practical points: my husband did not die, which most seemed clear on, but a few weren’t. Also, I am not and was not speaking for the Liu or Ramos families. I do not know them personally, and would have no idea what their reactions are to last week’s tragedy. It goes without saying that they have my heartfelt prayers and sympathy for their loss.

So often, as an LEO’s family, there is that feeling of powerlessness. No matter what happens, how much or how often we see them suffering and wronged, we can’t speak. We can’t march in the streets or give interviews on tv. Their service, no matter how honorable, can be misjudged by anyone, from politician to neighbor to family member. When they hurt, we hurt. But we can’t fix it. We can’t erase from their hearts the horrors they’ve seen, and sometimes, the very worst thing is that sense that as an LEO family, we are alone.

Many of you commented with thanks. Thanks that someone finally said it. Thanks that the words you were burying in your hearts were finally out in the open. Thanks that there was someone there who would say what the noisy masses want to ignore. For all of you that said thank you – you’re welcome. But really, I am thanking you. There was so much love pouring in, so many prayers, and so, so much encouragement, not just for me as a wife, but for my husband and his fellow officers, and that meant the world to both of us.

LEOs, wives/husbands, if you’re ever feeling down on one of those many lonely nights, scroll through those 1000+ comments. People from all faiths, all races, all professions, all backgrounds… they took a moment of their time, not just to read and feel for you, but to SAY it. This time, they were not silent. They made their love and their support so very clear. I hope that is as uplifting to all of you as it has been to me.

For the rest of you, the noisy minority of negative comments, I will say this. If the best you can do when you read a total stranger’s words, is write a paragraph full of obscenity and insults – then you have proven my point. If you can read those words of pain, written in moments of sadness, and sneer – you have proven my point. If all you have to contribute to the discussion is “F*** the police, the pigs deserved it, you privileged white b****” – you have proven my point: that the majority of people ranting and railing and rioting against our officers are ignorant, hateful, and downright criminal.

You prove my point that these so-called “protests” are merely a very thinly-veiled excuse for anarchy in this once-great country.

You prove my point that it is not, for the average officer or American, a matter of race, but a matter of humanity – humanity you fail to display. It is the choice you make, on a daily basis, to demean yourself and those around you. White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or purple alien from Mars – it is the ugliness inside you that is being judged, not the color of your skin. But then again, I’m “just a stupid white woman,” so I’m not entitled to an opinion, am I?

 The fact is, each of us is given opportunities every day to change the world for good. Some, like myself, can only do it in small ways, by sharing and showing love to those around us, in our families and communities. Some, like our leaders, are responsible in much bigger ways.  Did our leaders carry a gun from Baltimore to New York and kill those officers? No. Nor did the protesters as a group. But there is a reason, obviously, why NYPD officers were singled out by that madman. There is a reason why, in the last several months, blatant and violent attacks on law enforcement officers have skyrocketed across the country.

There is a time, a place, and a WAY to protest and work for change. Trust me, nobody hates a dirty cop more than a good cop. Nobody! But to encourage rioting in the streets against law enforcement is a very slippery slope, one that, quite clearly, ends in disaster. The openly anti-police rhetoric used by certain leaders, as well as their outright encouragement of the “protests,” and affiliation with a notorious criminal and race-baiter like Sharpton – these men were, and continue to be responsible, whether or not they have the integrity to admit that.

All of that said, do I think that cops are automatically perfect because of the uniform they wear? Of course not. So this last part is for all my LEO family members. Is it fair that you will be judged – and harshly – because of your uniform? Maybe not. But you will be. You are  held to a higher standard because of who you are. You are expected to be honorable because the police calling is one of honor. We are family, we are brothers and sisters – we need to care for each other as such. If your blue brother is making a poor choice, don’t turn a blind eye. Help him. Is your blue brother or sister struggling? Open your heart. That’s what family does.

There will always be criminals, there will always be those who spit on the law because they choose not to follow it. It is your job as officers (and ours as officer support systems! :P) to encourage the good, to live and work with honesty, character, and integrity.

Despite what they tell you, that is the real difference between the strong and the weak. It is not, and will never be, our color or race that defines us. It is our virtue.

That, in the end, is what the Thin Blue Line is made of.

xoxo, Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Betrayed Them

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I was driving to a Christmas party when my phone rang. I heard the words and my heart felt shattered. Every fear, every worry, every feeling of panic came rushing into my throat and I couldn’t stop it. I had to stop it. My babies were with me. I was about to meet new people and see old friends. It was a party. Everyone’s supposed to be happy. My heart felt ripped to shreds. I kept looking at my phone, even though I knew there would be nothing good to see. My face kept smiling, my mouth kept speaking but my heart was racing and the tears were always right beneath the surface.

Today it was them. You don’t know them. They’re just names to you. To some of you, they are symbols of heroism and honor, but to many of you they are symbols of “oppression” and “brutality.”

Today, they kissed their families goodbye, they went into work,  and they were sitting in a car.

They died tonight – slaughtered – bullet after bullet pumped into their bodies. Not because of crime, not because of fear, but because of the uniform they wear. “Going to give some pigs wings tonight,” the killer boasted on social media, before taking to the streets.

They died tonight… and you let them.

You – sitting in your safe house with your enlightened thoughts and your selfish politics.

You – every one of you who supported the “protests,” the riots, the Sharptons and de Blasios of this nation.

You – sitting smugly behind your screen, commenting on police policies, the “unnecessary force,” the “racism” of the police.

PO Wenjian Liu and PO Rafael Ramos.

Remember their names.

You let them die tonight.

My heart is aching with sadness, loss, fear. I can’t stop the tears. My body is shaking and my heart is broken.

Tonight I am so angry.

You betrayed them!!!

You chose to honor the criminal and demean the innocent. You chose to make a thug like Michael Brown and a career petty criminal like Eric Garner the names on everyone’s lips, while the names of those who die protecting your freedom and your rights are soon forgotten.

You betrayed them.

More lives taken – but no one thinks THEY matter. More blood shed – heroic blood, not criminal – but no leader stands up to mourn them. Two more widows and fatherless sons, days before Christmas – but no one will be rioting or marching in the streets.

Men and women – HUMAN BEINGS, REGARDLESS OF THEIR COLOR – are being slaughtered, dying to protect your right to speak, to live, to march – and you choose to honor the criminals because of their color!?

You betrayed them.

People are indeed being targeted for who they are, but it isn’t the police doing the targeting.

My husband has been literally getting spat on as he walks into work – but he’ll still be standing there protecting your right to hold a sign saying “I Can’t Breathe.”

What did you think was going to happen? Who did you think you were supporting? Or did you not bother to think about it at all?

You betrayed them.

Tomorrow my children could wake up without a father.

Tomorrow the light could leave my own heart, even as I must go on living.

Tomorrow that knock on the door could be the one I dread.

Tomorrow the hands that calm my soul, that fill me with life and love and passion – tomorrow they could be cold forever.

So by all means, march through NYC, scream in their faces, call them pigs, threaten their families, deface their tombstones, mock their pain, and ignore their sacrifices.

But acknowledge the truth of what you are doing.

You have blood on your hands tonight, every one of you.

RIP, Blue Angels. You are now in a far, far better place. ❤

-Anna

**Edit: I have no idea how this post is reaching so many people, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure what to do about it. One thing I will say: this post was written for me, my husband, our friends and family. It was never meant as an in-depth analysis of the current state of our country, nor as an intellectual debate. It was, quite simply, an outpouring of raw emotion that needed to be released. If you’re interested in reading my follow up post, click here.

The fact that it has been shared by so many is a reminder to me that my husband is not alone, and that men/women of honor like him are not being forgotten by the people they serve so faithfully.

To all of the commenters… you came here of your own free will. I didn’t chase you down. I never asked (nor intended) for this post to spread so quickly. I wrote it, and by the time I woke up the next morning, it was everywhere. I will not apologize for deleting comments I don’t agree with – that is well within my rights on my personal blog, and I will continue to do so. There are plenty of places for you all to vent your anti-cop sentiments, as well as your totally legitimate concerns about our country’s justice system. I will say there were a few (and I do mean only a FEW) whose opinions, while I do not agree with them, were voiced thoughtfully and respectfully, which I appreciate. These comments I am allowing. If anyone chooses to reply to them, I ask that you do so with the same respect that they showed to me. Thank you.

God Bless all our Law Enforcement Officers and Thank You NYPD!**

A Different Perspective

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As a police family, the last couple months have been harder than usual. The riots, the anger, the hatred, the very real threat of physical harm always before our eyes. The nights, always full of worry, have become pure torture. People I respected have shown the bigotry and ignorance within them, and it hurts so badly. The loneliness can be consuming. How does one explain what it feels like? What words can possibly describe what it does to my heart, sending him out each night, not knowing if I will ever see him again?

Then, in the midst of it all, a reader wrote to me:

“You talk a lot about how you aren’t the perfect couple/life, but the fact is, even to people like me who know the struggles, we envy you. Because the real reason people think you’re perfect isn’t because you’re pinteresty it’s because you’re real. And intense. And in love. And you know what that’s magical. So whatever. To you, maybe it seems normal. But to the rest of us, you guys are what keep us going. Because we believe in you and we believe we can be like you someday.”

I didn’t know what to say. I doubt the person knew how much that message meant to me that night. It brought a smile to my face and peace to my heart.

In the end, I can’t keep the hate or the danger away from him, but I can and I will fill his home with love. I will relish every moment we have together, whether it be for 70 more years or 70 more hours.

I am his. He is mine.

Despite the fear and the struggles, that makes this life worth living.

It does, in the end, make it magical.

xoxo, Anna

Perfect Is A Choice

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There’s an ongoing joke among my girlfriends that “Anna has the perfect life.” I say joke, because every one of my girlfriends knows that my life is far from perfect, at least in the standard sense of the word.

Like everyone else, there is good and bad in my life. Like you, I often groan over cooking meals, sometimes leave pans “soaking” for a day or two, or have piles of unfolded laundry hiding in my laundry room. People sometimes hurt me, disappoint me, anger me. I have felt betrayed, misunderstood. I have been lied about, both publicly and privately. I have watched those dearest to my heart suffer unspeakable loss. Sometimes I snap at my children, criticize my husband, or lose my temper. I have felt helpless in the face of a loved one’s hurting heart. Sometimes I wish I had unlimited funds in my bank account, or could go on that vacation. Sometimes (don’t judge me too harshly, folks) I wish I had just one day all by myself, to sleep till all hours, have my meals made for me, and not have to think about anyone other than myself.  Sometimes the sound of my child calling “Mommy” makes me cringe instead of ooze with love. Sometimes Hubby randomly leaving the cabinet door open after grabbing a glass feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Sometimes reading the news fills me dread.

The reality is, there is no such thing as “perfect” in this life, not in the way people mean it. Each of us has struggles, faults, and pain. Whether we choose (or even have a choice) to make them public or keep them private is a different story. For the most part, I choose to only share the good with all of you. When I post on here or on Facebook, I choose to spread smiles instead of more bitterness. I know for me, personally, I have “hidden” people from my newsfeed because their posts disturbed the peace of my heart. There is enough – too much – tragedy and rage all around us, and the media does everything possible to fill our souls with fear and anger. But I refuse to believe that the majority of human hearts are evil. There is more to us than that.

In a sense, there is no UNperfect life, because this life I am living is the only one I have (here on earth). This life, with the choices I make, and the love that I show, has been to given to ME, to only me, and what I do with it is up to me.  I can’t change the whole world by myself. I can’t stop the terrorists or heal the dying. But I can choose to live by example, to SHOW love, faith, morals – to give my children the tools for a happy life. I can choose to lift people up, instead of drag them down. I can choose to follow my Faith, trusting that the rules laid out so carefully by God will bring me true and lasting happiness. I can choose to take the frustrations of my day and use them to strengthen my heart and my relationships.

I can choose to literally “perfect” my life, my heart –  little by little, every moment of every day.

So when you’re scrolling through social media, and you start to think “Wow, that person has it all, I wish I was her” – think again. You can have a perfect life, too.

Because “perfect” is a choice.

xoxo, Anna

PS. I have to offer what I feel is a very important disclaimer here. What I’m talking about in this post is the normal, day to day choices we all face. Sickness, family issues/deaths, finances, annoying circumstances, etc. Dealing with depression, mental illness, etc. is an entirely different category, and I firmly believe that “choices” alone are not necessarily enough to overcome such pain. On the flip side, by sharing and showing love and compassion, you never know whose broken heart you may be helping to heal. So be kind, always.