I woke up early to yet again find another officer, this time more local, had taken his life during the night. His fellow brothers and sisters in uniform had been out searching for him and found him in a church parking lot. This past week in a police wives Facebook group, I read of a LEOW who took her own life, leaving behind her officer and children. Tragedies that cut deep into the family, friends and coworkers left behind, forced to do life without you now.
When you choose to end your life, you leave behind a wake of wreckage, of broken loved ones, devastated children and guilt-ridden colleagues who wrack their brains trying to figure out what signs they missed. As the wife of a LEO, I’m asking you to be courageous and confront the traumas that haunt you, the baggage from a difficult profession that overwhelms you without reprieve. You are not relieving others of the burden of caring about you; you are only deepening it when you choose death. Suicide is not the answer. It doesn’t fix anything and it is an eternal decision that you can’t change.
You can confidently confront the issues that brew below the surface. Engage the dark and stay in the fight, just as you would on the street. Don’t roll over and allow the criminal element and adversaries to win. Staunchly protect and defend life, for the most helpless, hopeless, weak and vulnerable, and for yourself. Spouses, you are dedicated to covering the home front while your officer is on duty; don’t give up on the family that God has called you to raise and serve.
Do not take the easy exit but armor up and do battle as in Ephesians 6:10-18. It’s time to face whatever is causing your pain head on with the same unwavering determination as you do on the street. It’s time to push aside the stigma and what others may think and be preemptive in seeking out treatment. Step up and be proactive because your actions affect more than you. Get help for your mental health. If you don’t, you are doing a disservice to those who love you, those you serve, and those who serve at your side.
Everyone is frantically searching for a solution to this epidemic. I would like to offer a radical solution, one solution that has changed my family’s life. This solution doesn’t require a check in to a mental health facility, nor being stripped of your badge and gun nor being branded by your department.
The solution is a man. His name brings hope and life, and His death and resurrection give us reason to live. He created you. He knows you, and He loves you. Not only does He offer you eternal life, He offers you an abundant life here and now (Jeremiah 29:11; John 10:10; Romans 15:13). We must all realize we can’t fix things or clean up our messes any longer. It is then that we are ready to embrace all that He offers.
So many blue families struggle through life, because the reality is that it’s meaningless without this realization! Trying to solve life’s issues on our own as we wallow in our sin is hopeless and exhausting. But when we acknowledge Him as our God, believe He is who His Word says He is, and surrender to Him, He makes us a new creation: one who will never fight any battle alone again (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 4:16; Matthew 28:20).
Police officers, police spouses … there are so many people who love you. So many who would be honored and count it a privilege to walk with you on this journey to healing. If your department has Chaplains, invite them on a ride along. Talk to them before you get to the point of wanting to take your life. They can offer you confidential conversation and faith-based answers. They are there to serve you and your family.
Suicide is not the answer. Choose a life firmly established in knowing Christ. Every single day, on duty and off. With your family and when you’re alone. Because Hope has a name!
Authors: Heidi Hogan, MSN RN CCRN, is an enthusiastic supporter of the thin blue line and encourager of LEOWs. She serves with Midwest Chaplain Network as the director of Family Support. She is a devoted Christ follower, a wife to her officer and a mother. She is a homemaker, a master’s prepared critical care RN, active member of her church and Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. She previously spent time serving on the Kansas 10-33 Foundation Advisory Council and Badge of Hope Ministries. She can be heard on Bott Radio and The Watch Your 6 Podcast. Heidi organizes the KC Law Enforcement Conference, which will hold its 5th annual seminar this July. She has spoken at Midwest Chaplains Network Fall and Spring Summits, at LEOW Education/Support events and she also writes for Law Enforcement Today. You can reach her at [email protected]
Chaplain Kevin Hardy has been serving as a police and fire chaplain for over a decade and prefers interacting with first responders and the community on a regular basis. He wants to be a bridge between first responders and the community and to bring hope and peace to someone on the worst possible day of their life. Chaplain Hardy retired from the United States Air Force in 2000 after serving twenty years as a paramedic. He graduated from Luther Rice Seminary and Bible College shortly after retiring from military service. Chaplain Hardy is the executive director of Midwest Chaplain Network and one of the pastoral staff members at CreateChurchKC, located in Midtown Kansas City. Chaplain Hardy is married to Lynelle and they are the proud parents of Alicia, Alaina, Alizabeth, and Aaron and grandparents of William and Jonathan.