IN A FLASH
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Are you ready for this? That is the question that I want to ask our younger selves when I look at this picture.
My husband is a new recruit, just graduated from police academy.
Watching him go through training was hard. Little did we know, this was just the beginning.
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. What seemed new and exciting at the time, turned into a reality that we weren't quite ready for...(well I wasn't quite ready for.)
My world would soon revolve around supporting my husband and newly appointed LEO while he pursued his career. Soon the excitement faded. The call backs, and over time kicked in. With all of that came the different cases he attended to, and the reality of what we were involved in spiraled quickly and the physical toll it took on him slowly spread into an emotional toll on both of us.
Wait a minute...this is not what I signed up for? Then I stopped and remembered a quick meeting me had with all those in command in the department. It was a meeting to let us know what kind of toll this career path would take on our marriage and our family life. It was hard to listen to the statistics of how many officers suffer from mental health challenges, get divorced, commit suicide, and the list kept going. In my mind I thought are there any good statistics?
When you're fresh and ready to serve and care for your community it feels powerful and exciting! Shouldn't it always feel that way?
Most nights he would come home ready to share about all the things he witnessed. That slowly turned into him not wanting to share what he was going through and it made me feel distant and "out of the loop".
At times, it left me feeling lonely, lost, unseen, unaccomplished, "just his wife" and more feelings would pile on that I just didn't know how to process. It would feel so awkward to have people walk up to him while we were together, people would not acknowledge me, and go on and on in conversation about a case he was involved in. I would just wander off, and think that's just what life is, and I need to get used to it. Then I had to think to myself, don't drift away and become more distant. Fight to support your husband. Pray over him, use what you learned in the bible to overcome evil with good, to remember that whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if you are working for the Lord.
This is exactly when our role as an LEO spouse becomes key.
Our role "behind the scenes" will affect their performance at work, and of course it goes both ways.
I want to be a productive wife, mother, friend, co-worker and I cannot be that if I stay in that awkward, lonely, lost, unseen, unaccomplished state of mind.
Believe me when I say that you as an LEO spouse have a destiny attached to your life, and it may not always come with the recognition you deserve, and you need to fight through those uncertainties and remind yourself.."YOU are so important."
We need to be confident and content with ourselves, so we can build the same attributes for not just our spouse, our children need to know this as well.
This is where relationship and commitment kick in. Both of us needed to decide through the hard times that we were going to stick together when we are on the mountain tops, and even more so when we are down in the valley thinking..."How are we going to get out of this one?"
Every morning we should remember that we both need to start with a clear mind. We need be able to do the best we can do for our spouse, family and the people we work with. This verse in Lamentations has helped me get through so many difficult thoughts that overwhelm me and helps to remind me that...
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning."
18 years later, I realize how important the role as a LEO spouse is. In a flash those two kids in this picture are still going through the mountains and the valleys, the recruit has become a patrol officer, is now a detective, we have three growing children, bought a house, volunteer at our children's school, give back to our community the best we can, and at times my thoughts still drift and I think "I am I doing enough?"
What have we done with the time we were gifted? Will our kids survive in this world without us? When we are gone physically, will our community be better than we left it?
There are a few young officers coming onto the force. If I knew then what I know now, oh how much easier life would have been for our family. I pray this blog will be encouraging to LEO families. I pray you know that you are not alone.
One day if our children come across these ramblings, I hope they will know that the love we have for God, and for them is what drove us to fight through all the trials, and decide to stay together through it all.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching."