NYPD

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

 

 

Damned or Dead 

 

I can’t find the words. I try to find the hope. I try to see the good. But …. Michigan. Tennessee. Georgia. Dallas. Baton Rouge. 8 officers killed in 11 days.

Their guns are pulled out for a reason. Their guard is up for a reason.

Because they’re damned if they do and they die if they don’t…. and damned by public opinion is still better than dead in the arms of their family.

Damned by public opinion is still better than knocking on the door and telling her that he lied. He’s NOT coming home.

Damned by public opinion is still better than a sobbing wife being handed a folded flag, and tiny hands waving a final goodbye to a coffin that carries their father.

Damned by a public that will never understand is better than never going home.

To my husband and all his fellow LEO’s, DO good, BE the good, but never forget that in the end the sides are not based on political party, hashtags or media.

The sides are and will always be, Good vs. Evil.

Fight. Fight hard. And, oh my dearest, please – please – please – come home!!!

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

Will You Remember?

nypdrip

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

Every One Is You

wife1

I see their faces, hear their names.

I watch their families, heads held high, but eyes always filled with pain.

I see them hand that flag and every time, just for a moment, I imagine myself standing there, reaching out my hands to take it.

It’s my nightmare, the one that never goes away.

It’s the thought that keeps me awake each night you’re gone, no matter how exhausted I am.

It’s the fear that has changed me, utterly and completely.

It’s the great what-if that has become my life.

Every day another name, and to me – every one is you. Every story, every news report – it is the horror that plays over and over. Who is it today – and tomorrow, who will be next?

They speak of “heroes,” and of memories that will never die. They promise to remember always. They swear that all of these will live on in their hearts. And I think they mean it well.

But his wife – she doesn’t want a memory. She wants his arms around her, warm and strong. She wants to hear his voice, reminding her of the beauty that sometimes she can’t see. She wants his silliness, his humor, his laughter, his love. She even wants the arguments, the cranky days, and sullen silences. She wants him. She wants the father of her children to see them grow, to watch them discover and laugh and bring a joy she had never known before. She wants him. Not a memory. Not a flag. Not a name on a wall in a city.

It’s the life. It’s part of the job. It’s what we “signed up for.” So they say. It’s the part that only gets harder, never easier. Playing single parent, showing up without him to events, answering the same questions over and over – that part is easy to get used to. It becomes routine.

But death? Ambush? Slaughter in the night? How can that ever be routine? This hatred that has become the growing trend, that calls for murder and attack, that looks for blue to strike it down, viciously and without mercy – how can that become routine?

So once again I sit and wait, keeping my quiet vigil here at home; praying that the goodness of his heart and the strength of his body will overcome the evil he must face. And every night, I speak the same words within my heart.

Dear God, I don’t want a hero or a flag – I only want him.

Come home to me –  my love, my friend, my husband, my wonderful man in blue… come home… always!

xoxo, Anna

This Is Our Life

Every Moment

“Cherish every moment.” “Never go to bed angry.” “Always kiss goodbye.” “Think before you speak.” “Live in the present.”

Everyone has heard all that. So had I. I thought I was living by those words, and maybe I more or less was. It wasn’t until shortly after I was married, though, that I came to fully understand how important it all is.

The truth is, for any one of us, each moment could be our last. In a police family, that possibility is never abstract. It is starkly, sometimes painfully in the forefront of our lives, every minute of every day. On the one hand, it can and usually does create an emotional divide between those who “get it” and those who don’t. On the other hand, the uncertainty of this life has brought with it so many blessings in our family, our marriage, and for me as an individual.

It took us a little while to fully embrace what it meant to live this life together. It means sometimes saying no, even to people we love, because it is more important to say yes to each other. It means focusing on the present, and letting go of the past. It means fewer words, and more understanding. It means less debate and more Faith. It means fewer grudges and more forgiveness.

I was afraid our children would feel his absence, and they do, more often now as they get older… but they also feel his presence, because he always makes it count.

These summer days, we go to the beach on Monday evenings instead of weekends; we have brunch on the 4th of July instead of a bbq and see fireworks the week before; we go camping in the living room instead of in the mountains, but our family is making memories full of love, and our children are learning every day to be proud of their father and the sacrifices he makes.

For me, I would be lying if I said that my role as police wife has not shaken me to my core. It is so much more than what I expected, more in every way. It is more challenging, more stressful, more terrifying, more lonely. But it is also more loving, more generous, more precious, more strengthening.

Living this life has inspired me to step outside my comfort zone, over and over, only to find that my comfort zone is apparently much bigger than I’d thought. (I can kill my own spiders, people. Who knew! :P)  I used to focus too much on all the things I thought I should be doing. Now I focus on what I am doing, and I find it brings such peace.

Even in his absence, my husband is here. Knowing I am loved by him, and knowing that he feels my love for him – it makes this life much easier, not just to bear, but to treasure. I am learning, slowly but surely, to make every moment count, because this moment, right here, right now, is the only one that matters.

And so tonight I will keep my quiet vigil, listening for the sounds that comfort my waiting heart – his key in the lock, his boots on the stairs, his gun being placed on the bureau. His lips will press against mine and he will say the words he knows I need to hear: “I’m home.”

We are a police family. This is our life – and we cherish it. ❤

xoxo, Anna

thinblueline

They Don’t See Him

He is finally home after working a 26-hour shift. He’s exhausted and should be in bed, but he’s on the couch across from me instead. “I’m not tired, sweetheart, I want to be with you.” 5 minutes later – he’s snoring mid-sentence.

Today Mikey informed me that “when we all grow up Daddy’s going to be a hero.”

But Daddy already is one.

He works the job that nobody wants – and nobody cares that he does it. He goes in early, comes home late – loses sleep, misses events,  sometimes goes days without seeing his own family – and nobody thanks him. He arrests the criminal he caught red-handed, and they call it racial profiling. He arrives too late to save the baby from her parents’ abuse, and they call him a lazy, over-paid pig. He has knelt helplessly by the sides of young men – hardly more than boys – dying in the street, victims of the endless cycle of violence created to keep them captive forever. But no one knows that he was there.

He’s just a shadow to them.

Another uniform, another badge and shield, another officer with a gun.

They don’t know him.

They don’t see the man I see.

They don’t see the tears in his eyes when he tells me they found the missing child – too late. They don’t see his exhaustion of body and soul. They don’t see how betrayed he feels at every turn. They don’t see how much he cares.

They don’t feel his loss when he puts those dress blues on to march again, too soon, to bury another fallen hero. To them it’s a touching story on the news. To him – it is his brother.

They don’t know that sometimes even while he’s laughing… he’s crying inside.

They don’t see him mowing the lawn with his son, and dancing with his daughter. They don’t see him lay his head on my belly and whisper silly nothings to his unborn baby. They don’t see the devilish grin he gives me when we drive away for a date night, or the sweet touch of his hand on mine, that calms me when I’m overwhelmed.

They don’t see that for him, this isn’t just a job, just a paycheck. It’s who he is. He doesn’t take off his uniform and forget what he has seen and done. The uniform has changed him forever.

He’s a shadow to some and a villain to others, but to me… he will always be a hero.

xoxo, Anna

They Don't See him

They Don't See Him

They Don't See Him

They Don't See Him

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

We Know Who You Are

DSC_0033

The horrors you have seen, I can never take away. They are seared forever onto the heart so many people think you don’t have. The nightmares you have lived through have changed you, forever.

The people you have saved, do they remember you? Your uniform is a blessing and a curse. Forgotten so often, your name remembered only to be scorned.

You are more than what they call you. You are more than what they say. They see you and they see a uniform. They may never really know you. To them, you’re just another faceless man in blue.

 But I will always know who you are.

You have love in your heart and courage in your soul. You are the man who dries my tears, who silences my self-doubt. You are the friend I turn to first – in good times and bad. You are the one who can always coax a laugh from me, even when I’m trying to stay mad at you. Yours are the hands that heal my pain, yours are the eyes that see me for who I am. You see me, and to you, I am enough. You have shown me love that I could have never imagined and passion that cannot be compared. The gift of being yours is the only one I will ever need.

My love, I know you.

Your children know who you are. You are their father, the first man in their lives and the most important. I see your hands become gentle whenever they are near; I hear your voice soften. I see the way you smile to yourself as you watch them play. You never tell them no to that “one more ride,” no matter how long your shift has been, or how heavy your heart. Your knowledge, your compassion, your strength of body and spirit – you are molding your sons and daughter every day by your example, and they will always know who you are.

The dark days will come, some worse than others, but remember this: the ignorant and the evil ones can mock, they can lie, they can accuse, they can scorn. But they can never take from you the things that matter most.

They cannot take your humanity and they cannot take the love from your heart.

Hold onto those. Hold on, even when it’s by the smallest thread. You are so much more than what they say.

You are a police officer.

We know who you are, and to us, you are everything!

xoxo, Anna