Thanks for stopping in. There isn't really a rhyme or reason to this blog. It's just what comes to my head as I go through each day. If something I say resonates with you (positively or not), please leave a comment. It helps to know that people care. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reflections: Post 1--New Year's Eve

I haven't written anything in a while.  That's not true...I've written a lot.  I just haven't posted any of it.  I've been trying hard to remember everything about the experience of saying goodbye to Chris.  I've decided I'm going to try to post it in here is post #1:

New Year's Eve

We were walking around Best Buy on New Year’s Eve.  I had begged Mike to get me a Roku player and DVD player for the basement TV for something to watch while on my elliptical.  We’d already picked those things out, but Mike wanted to see if there was anything else he might want.  He had a lot of gift cards since he’s so hard to buy for and his birthday is right after Christmas. 

Mia was fussy, so I was wandering around in the computer section, just trying to keep her moving so she wouldn’t get upset.  I saw Mike at the other end of the aisle looking at his phone and I rolled my eyes.  I thought he was playing his game again.  Then suddenly he was next to me again, and he said that he had just gotten a text that Chris Yung had been in a motorcycle accident.  That’s all we knew right then.  He looked concerned, but since we knew so little he wasn’t overly upset yet.

I had a gut feeling that it was…what it was.  I didn’t say that, though.  I asked who was watching his kids.  I figured, if it wasn’t what it was, maybe we could help somehow.  He said he didn’t know.  He said the other officers were all assembling at the hospital, the one on the other side of the county.  I said I would go get in line so we could go and decide what to do.  Mike quietly followed.  As we got in line, Mike was still playing with his phone.  I thought he was maybe texting back to see if he could get more information.  I later found out that he was checking his work email.  There was one with the subject heading “Terrible News.”

Mike just looked at me as we stood in line.  Very quietly, very slowly, he just said, “He died.”
I should have made him leave.  I asked him if he wanted to leave, as there was a long line, but he said no.  He asked, “What is there to do?  Where do we need to be?  Might as well pay.”  I said I wanted to cancel plans with my family for that evening.  He asked why.  Were we just going to sit around and be sad all night? I realize now that he was numb.  He was in shock.  I think maybe everyone was.
I drove home.  He looked through more emails, and I looked on facebook.  I found a release from the county and gave it to Mike.  It had that picture of Chris on it.  The one we’d see over and over in the coming days.  The one that would seem to define him, so incompletely.  The smiling, formal portrait that every police officer takes next to an American flag. 

I hope I never see Mike’s portrait again, save maybe at his retirement.

I cried on the way home.  I tried not to, but I couldn’t quite help it.  I said again on the way home that I thought we should cancel with my family, which was right around the time that he found out people were now going to go meet at the police association hall.  I told him he should go.  I think a part of him just wanted to stay with me.  Maybe he wanted to pretend it wasn’t real.  I don’t know.  I told him he should go, and I called my family to cancel.  I knew he had to go.  He needed to be around people that knew Chris as he did.  Mia and I stayed home alone.

Mike called a few times from hall.  He had to go outside to do it because he gets no reception there.  I like to think that hearing my voice and talking to me gave him comfort, as did talking and reminiscing with all of Chris’s friends at the hall.  As for me, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.  I gave Mia dinner, and put her to bed, and sat and blindly flipped channels on TV. I posted on facebook that a good, kind, brave man had lost his life doing his duty that day, and to pray for his family.  I waited for people to care.  I needed people to care.

The thing is, when your husband is a police officer, you know there are risks.  You know he has to drive fast.   You know he has to multi-task while he’s driving.  You know some people don’t like to see a boy in blue.  You know some people would hurt him just for being what he is.  Still, you can pretend, day to day, that you don’t know these things.  You can pretend that it’s a guarantee he’ll walk back through the door at end of shift.  I know nothing in life’s a guarantee.  I think I know that better than most.  Still, the illusion is what keeps you going, keeps you sane.  When this happens, it shatters the illusion.  A man I knew and cared about, a man who was no different from my husband, died that day.

I needed people to care.  It doesn’t matter if they knew him or not.  He was a good man.  He was so kind, and so generous, and so loving, and he’s dead.  He died.  It’s so inexorably wrong, and it seemed so wrong to sit there that night, inwardly pleading for someone, anyone, to comment on my post, and watching all of these ridiculous posts about what shoes to wear or what alcohol to buy or what party to go to.  I know it was New Year’s Eve…but the world stopped turning that night for every PWCPD family.  It seemed so horribly, freakishly wrong that no one else cared.

I looked feverishly for news stories about the accident.  I found them.  They included pictures.  I don’t know why I looked.  I didn’t want to see the pictures.  I didn’t want to see the crash.  This was a man I knew.  This was a man who came to our engagement party, our wedding, our summer parties.  This was a man who gave us a bag of his daughter’s old clothes when Mia was born.  This was a man who always came up to talk to me at gatherings, when I felt so socially awkward and lonely.  He always acted happy to see me, always smiled, always cared.  I didn’t want to see the crash.  I had to look.

I don’t know that I’ll ever forget some of the images I saw.  He was gone before the pictures were taken…probably in every meaning of the word.  Still, the images hinted at the action and violence that happened.  Now, when I think of the crash, it’s too real.  I can too easily imagine the sound, the panic, the fear.  In my head I see the flames, watch him fly from his bike.  In my nightmares, I see his head moving in slow motion toward jagged glass and twisted metal.

Mike got home about 10:30.  I was so grateful that I wouldn’t have to worry about him driving after midnight on New Year.  I asked him how it was.  I asked him if people were crying.  He said something about people handling emotions different ways.  Some were telling stories about him.  That’s what I liked best. Others were apparently just enjoying being together.  I guess they were trying to not think about it, take comfort where they could.  Some were upset.  Some cried.  It’s strange to think of these men crying.  These are the men who make ridiculously inappropriate jokes ten times a day without flinching.  These are the men who take breathalyzer tests as a drinking game.  These are the men who run the streets at night.  These are the men I just assumed had no feelings beyond joy and anger.

We didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves that night.  It wasn’t right to celebrate New Year, though we had both been looking forward to it.  2012 was not our year.  Still, it was the last year Chris got to see.  How do you celebrate its passing? We watched old episodes of Glee on Hulu to pass the time.  At 12:01, I noticed that midnight had passed and said so to Mike.  We shared a kiss, but not the kind of kiss you have to celebrate.  It was the kind of kiss that’s meant to feel connection and love and comfort.  It’s impossible to be in a situation like that and not need comfort.

I tried to talk to Mike a little more between the episodes.  I think the numbness finally started to wear off as he had gotten home from the hall.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen Mike truly upset, seen him cry.  The reaction he had to Chris’s death was so similar to that of losing Charlotte.   Shocked.  Numbed.  Pained.  Shattered.  He talked a little about what Chris meant to him.  How much he would miss him.  How much the world should have more people like him, not less.  He said that, if he had to choose a person to die in the line of duty, the last person he would have chosen would be Chris.    

We went to bed a little after one.  We talked about life.  What if it was Mike instead of Chris?  I told him he was never again allowed to walk out the door without kissing me goodbye, regardless of how late he was running.  He promised me nothing would happen to him.  I tried to take comfort in that and failed miserably.   It’s hard to believe guarantees when you know they’re just a happy lie we tell ourselves to get through the day.

He told me that, if it was him, if he had a sliver of a fraction of time to know death was coming, his last thoughts would be of me.  That’s a cold comfort.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The last time...I hope.

I found out I'm pregnant again today. Mike finally reacted the way I wanted him to. It's been a bit of a running joke for us that he never reacts the way I want him to when I tell him we're pregnant. The first time we weren't trying. His reaction wasn't bad, but he was more surprised than happy, as was I. He and I were still feeling out how we felt about it for the first couple if days. Kids weren't supposed to be on the radar yet. With Mia, we had had a few chemical pregnancies, and Mike was gun shy. He didn't really believe it until we got bloodwork done, so there was no moment of recognition, big celebration. With Charlotte, again we weren't trying. He and I were both completely blindsided by it. He didn't react at all. I don't blame him, really....but it's not the kind of story you retell a lot. For this baby....he finally reacted well.

I took the test at school. I don't know why I was so intent to take a test today. I just....knew. it's still super early. Anyways, I got a decent line. So I went home and we were snuggling in bed watching tv during Mia's nap. We had been talking about our hopes for this month. I asked him how confident he was, on a scale of 1-10. He said 5....then asked me the samme question. I asked for clarification on what was a one and what was a ten. He said a one was being shocked if it happened and ten was being shocked if it didn't happoen. I said 10. He didn't get it at first. He asked me, incredulously if I was really that confident. I just looked at him. I tried to smile, but my body was trying to cry. I got stuck in the middle. I saw it when itdawned on him....his eyes filled, and he just said, "Oh my God..." And then he hugged me that way he hugs me when it really matters. It was a good reaction.

I'm scared. Mike thinks Charlotte is going to protect this kid....he's freakishly confident that it'll be ok. I'm not sure he really believes it or if he needs to believe it...but i'm still scared. O'm going to leave these entries as drafts for a while. I'm not ready to put it out there yet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ok, ok, I hear you!

So...windy day today. I was just thinking about Charlotte and listening to the wind chimes...and for some reason I felt a desire to sit on the couch and listen to the wind chimes for few minutes...I thought about putting up the windchime for Chris so that I could hear them together. I sat there for a good half hour, just thinking...and when I finally stopped because I couldn't put of working out any longer, I, for some reason, felt a desire to check the app of the day from Amazon...and it was a field guide to identifying butterflies. Wow. Seriously?

Okay baby. I get the hint. You're near.

I love you, angel girl.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weak day

Mike returns to work today. I'm scared. As with being a military wife, as a police wife you know your husband has a dangerous job. Of course you know...still, you try not to think about it. Days like today, though...
I want to beg him to stay home. I want to lock the doors, lower the blinds, and just shut out the world and the danger.
I would be a horrible widow. Robin has had such strength and grace through this week. She gave dignity to her husband's funeral and burial. I admire and respect her more than I could express...and I know that I would not have strength, grace, or dignity.
If you read this, please say a prayer for Robin and for me. Bring her peace, and bring my husband home.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

someone to take care of Charlotte

A friend of Mike's died this week. It's been a rough week for him and for me as well. In going through the process with him of dealing with the loss, I realized that I would really like it if this person would watch out for Charlotte, to take care of her. So, yesterday, the morning of the funeral I asked for some kind of sign to know he really is taking care of her and caring for her and with her somewhere. During the course of the funeral, one of his friends was telling stories about him and person that he was, and he told the story of how this man stood in uniform at the grave of an infant that had died in order to give comfort to a grieving mother who didn't want her baby to be alone. Of all the stories he could have chosen, he shared this one at the funeral...I guess I have to believe he's taking care of my little girl now.

Going home

I'm in the process of trying to write down all of the beautiful and painful and inspiring and awful moments of the last few days...but as it did with Charlotte, it will take me some time to get it all down.  

I'm realizing now that maybe a part of my mourning for Chris was also a mourning for my daughter.  Charlotte had no ceremonies, no words spoken, no grave to visit, no flowers bought.  I think going through this process of mourning for Chris also took me through the process for my daughter, in a way I never got before.  Maybe.

In the mean time, I want to share the song "Going Home."  I've heard it played several times the last few days...and it breaks my heart a little each time.  Here are the lyrics, and a video of it being played.  

To be one likes bagpipes.  But I think, in this circumstance (and only this circumstance) they are the only instrument that would work.

Lyrics: "GOING HOME"(Antonin Dvorak)    
Going home, going home,
I'm a going home.
Quiet-like, some still day,
I'm just going home.
It's not far, just close by,
Through an open door.
Work all done, care laid by,
Going to fear no more.
Mother's there, expecting me,
Father's waiting too.
Lots of folk gathered there,
All the friends I knew.
Nothing's lost, all's gain,
No more fear or pain,
No more stumbling by the way,
Going to roam no more.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another death

Mike's friend died yesterday. He was a motorcycle cop, and he was in an accident. He died.

He had a little girl and two little boys at home. His wife is all alone.

He was a really, really nice guy. I don't fit in well with the police wives, but he always acted happy to see me. He was kind and generous and so sweet. He was always smiling, always laughing.

I am sad today on so many levels.

The world lost a really good man. The world will be a little darker and colder without him in it.  He didn't have to be a cop...he had money. He CHOSE to be an officer. He didn't have to ride bikes, but he CHOSE to do it because he was an amazing driver and he loved it.

Sweet little kids lost a really great dad. He was a good dad. He loved his kids. 24 hours ago he kissed them goodbye just like any other day. Now he's gone. No more bedtime stories. No more kisses.

A wonderful, strong woman has lost her husband. I can so easily put myself in her place, and I don't know how I would breathe.  I'm praying she has  the support that I so wanted in July. I don't know what I would do. In an entirely selfish way, I'm consumed with my own fear, terrified that it could happen to me...and I don't think I'd be strong enough to survive it.

My husband has lost his good friend. Mike doesn't trust or care easily. There are very few people he feels he can really talk to, open up to. I'm so incredibly sad that he lost one of them.

The world stopped for me and my family again yesterday, as it did for every law enforcement family...and the rest of the world, the world he died to protect, they went to their new year's eve parties.  The world is unfair, and I don't understand. I just don't.

I can find meaning and purpose in Charlotte's death. I can see a larger plan. I can't find meaning here. 

I'm sad.