Thousands of men and women put their lives at risk everyday to keep everyone else safe. They make it so that we don’t have to deal with the worst that our society has to offer. The job of peace officer is inherently risky and terribly dangerous, but those few who wear the badge know and accept this. It is who they are and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Each officer responds to dozens of calls each shift. Many erroneously refer to these as “routine” calls. No call is routine when an officer’s life is at risk.
The officers are the only ones risking it all every day. These officers have spouses and children. When an officer loses their life in the line of duty the family is left to pick up the pieces of a once normal life. The surviving spouse is left to deal with funeral arrangements, benefit claims, the media and are thrust into the criminal justice system. Much like Dorothy in the famed book and movie, Wizard of Oz, the spouse and family are sucked up into a tornado of confusion and despair and dropped into an unfamiliar world. They are no longer in “Kansas”.
They must rely on friends and others to help them find their way home. It is difficult to know who to trust and who to rely on. In the above mentioned movie, Dorothy was guided by Glenda, the Good Witch. The road was still hard and required persistence in her part in order to get back home. The same applies to the widow or widower left behind by the death of their uniformed spouse.
This is where Blue Haven comes in to the story. Much like Glenda, Nannette and her group are here to provide guidance, comfort and advocacy. The guidance and advice comes from personal experience. These men and women have experienced the loss of a uniformed spouse in the line of duty. They have navigated the world of benefits claims, funeral arrangements and criminal court proceedings. They have dealt with the media and all the accompanying publicity. They understand the feeling of loss and the confusion that comes with it.
They also understand that with time the memory of their spouse begins to fade as people move on to other news items. It is up to the surviving spouse to make sure that their spouse’s sacrifice is remembered.
Robert McNamara, noted 19th Century History guru said the following,
Being a color bearer was considered a mark of great distinction and it required a soldier of extraordinary bravery. The job was to carry the flag where the regimental officers directed, while unarmed and under fire. Most importantly, color bearers had to face the enemy and never break and run in retreat, or the entire regiment might follow.
Much like the color bearers in the Civil War, the spouse must pick up the flag and carry on the good fight. Widows and widowers play an important role in making sure that the perpetrator is caught and prosecuted, that the circumstances behind the death are investigated, and that changes are made to make the job safer for other officers.
You are not alone. Those words may ring hollow, but they are true. The volunteers at Blue Haven are here to help you and guide you. No one should have to deal with the murder of a spouse, but sadly we live in a world full of evil people intent on doing evil things. Blue Haven makes sure you don’t have to go it alone.
Things will never be the same and that’s ok. You must, however, find a way to carry on.