Dear Officer,

PLEASE DON’T!

I’m writing this letter to you boldly and stepping outside of my comfort zone to give you an important message. I hope that you will listen. In the past couple of weeks my State of Connecticut has lost two good, well-respected and beloved LEOs to suicide. I feel like I could scream!

You see, I’m a widow who has lost her police officer husband to suicide on March 12, 2013. You may have heard about my husband East Hartford Police Officer Paul S. Buchanan, #208, and his story (“Believe 208”) as I have shared it openly and honestly with a mission and passion to help all law enforcement officers who may be struggling as my husband was.

The part that you may not have heard me talk much about is how much I struggle daily with his loss to suicide – how much I hurt. I am suffering. We are all suffering – my two amazing sons, my husband’s 92 year old mother, his siblings, our relatives, neighbors and friends.

There are times I can’t even imagine how his fellow East Hartford Police Department officers feel and how they felt the day he died. They held him and watched him die. We miss him; we are angry with him at times; mostly we hurt because of his death by suicide. My tears flow daily. All of us who knew and loved Paul were changed in an instant and not for the better. Lives were broken the day Paul died. The hurt that remains behind is unbelievable. Day by day we struggle. Daily I pray and ask God to help me find a way to get out of bed, put a smile on my face and begin another day. What was supposed to be the best years of my life and my sons’ lives is now over. It will never be the same.

Police Officer – YOU deserve to live a full and happy life. YOU deserve to have a full career from being a recruit to retirement. If you are struggling with your job, then you need to leave. Simply put. All the money in the world is not worth your life. You cannot do the unthinkable and take your own life. It is not an option. The hurt that you will leave behind is immeasurable. Lives will be changed forever.

YOU can get better and YOU will get better. YOU may think that you are in a place right now where your relationship is falling apart and money is short and tight; YOU may have an addiction – drugs, alcohol, or gambling. YOU may be suffering from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I’m here to tell you that there is a way out. There is an answer and that answer is not suicide. The answer is help. YOUR life’s worth living. Life WILL NOT better without you.

If you have ever thought about suicide, I’m here to boldly tell you – PLEASE DON’T. If you are struggling and are waiting for some type of sign, a reason not to die, then here it is. This is your sign. I want you to live. There are so many that care for you. You have family, friends, and even if you don’t think your police department cares, they do. Trust me. I have names and numbers and resources that can help. There are retired officers, professionals, counselors and retreat centers that understand your unique stressors that come with your job. Some of them have even walked in your shoes. They know your pain. They will understand YOU. Please talk with a trusted friend, family, member, your wife or significant other, a relative, your department, or even me. I’m here for you, too.

My email is [email protected] I will find a way to help you. I’m not an expert; I’m only a widow who knows and hurts profoundly and begs you – PLEASE DON’T.

Trish Buchanan is the widow of East Hartford, Connecticut Police Officer Paul S. Buchanan Badge Number 208 who died by suicide on March 12, 2013. She seeks to bring light to the subject of police suicide by talking about it. Trish is an executive assistant in a Hartford Connecticut suburb and the proud mother of two sons. Her current passion is working on “BELIEVE 208” in collaboration with the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (http://www.cableweb.org/training/project-blue-208) to enhance awareness and support law enforcement officer mental health. Trish’s strong faith has sustained her through this terrible time in her life. You may reach her at: [email protected] To learn more about “Believe 208 – Run for the Brave and Finest” please visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Believe208