One week ago, Constable Bachmann was senselessly gunned down while serving an eviction notice, an event that shook our community to the core. Constable Bachmann and an an innocent bystander lost their lives that day, and another bystander was left fighting for her life in the hospital, her only crime being that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One week ago, I had to come face to face with all the "why's" and "what if's" that are involved with being law enforcement officer. I had to watch a stoic widow hold her children as they said good-bye to their father, while a community said good-bye to one of its finest citizens.
One week ago, I was forced to stop living in ignorant bliss and actually deal with all the "what if's" that come along with being the wife of a law enforcement officer. What if he did get injured or did not make it home one day? What would my life be like? How would I even begin to handle that? Am I strong enough to even face that possibility head on?
I have wrestled with some very harsh realities and ugly truths this past week, and will admit that it has taken its toll on me. The fact that I dealt with most of them on my own has made me come out the other side a stronger person and, I hope, a better wife to Deputy D. I still have a long way to go... Everyone does. Grieving is a long process, and everyone does it in their own way and in their own time.
Some of the ugly truths I had to face were about myself.
I am still angry at the shooter. Judge me however you want. I don't think he had the right to take lives to deal with his own internal struggles. Everyone has internal struggles. Not everyone picks up a gun and starts shooting people to deal with them. His decision to pick up a gun that day and start shooting has tragically impacted countless lives.
The truth is that anything could happen to any one of us at any point during the day. We could be in a wreck, we could get sick, or we could encounter any of the numerous unseen dangers that we face every day. The fact that we live with law enforcement officers just makes those possibilities so much more imminent.
The police, firefighters, and first responders are heroes to me now even more than they have ever been before. Up until last week, their service and sacrifice was something that I took for granted and did not give much thought to. Never again. Over the past week, I have seen up close and personal what their job really entails and what they willingly choose to give to up for people (mostly strangers) each and every time they go on duty or start their shift.
I have had to come to grips with the fact that I need to have the internal fortitude to be strong and make it through whatever life throws at us on my own, without relying on others to make it through the day. Before, I would have said that I was not one of those people who can do that. Now, I know that I can handle more on my own than I ever thought was possible.
I found myself in a very dark place Saturday night, darker than almost any other time in my life. Deputy D had to work, and I found myself have to deal with my grief and all the extreme emotions that were spilling out alone. I sat on the couch, hearing the clock tick and all the "why's" and "what if's" were echoing around the empty house and bouncing off the walls. I could not turn on the laptop or TV because I just could not bear to watch any more news clips or Facebook posts about the funeral. Every time I closed my eyes, all I could see and hear were the final status check from the funeral playing on a repeat loop in my brain.
I finally got myself to sleep... I will freely admit that I had medicinal help with this. The next morning, I went to church thinking I would be able to find some comfort there, but that did not work out exactly like I thought it would. I found myself alone in a sea of people, and ended up coming home and crying some more.
There has been a lot of crying this past week. I have shed more tears this week than I have in several years put together. Please know that it was not all about the past week's events. The funeral was just the final straw in a string of really stressful events that have happened over the summer. I think I finally just had all I could take and broke into a million pieces.
Funny thing is, it has been easy to start the process of putting myself back together. Once you take a good long look at the pieces that used to be you, you start seeing that there might be a better way to put them back together. And then you end up being a better person than you started out.
In Loving Memory of All the Heroes Who Make the Ultimate Sacrifice...