The tears that flowed down my face were hot and full of emotion; full of anger, fear, and complete exhaustion from the weight of it all.
Earlier that day I had listened to the End of Watch radio traffic for a fallen officer and I finally let the emotions rise to the surface as I lay in bed that evening.
My husband rolled over asking what was wrong.
Through my sobs, I sputtered something about, “She’s going to bed without her husband-for the rest of her life. That side of their bed will be empty.” … And more followed, “He just had NO regard for that deputy’s life. He shot him without batting an eye.” … Continuing, “I can’t lose you like that. You can’t be gone that suddenly. How would I raise the kids alone?”
My words turned into incomprehensible sobs again and he held me close while I tried to process it all. He told me it was okay to be scared. We discussed how God had truly called him to this line of work, and how our hope in eternal life with Christ keeps us both grounded when these overwhelming moments hit.
“I was given a duty to my country that I will never not respond to,” he whispered, “but I stay alert and I will stay safe. I promise.”
My crying quieted and although I knew he couldn’t predict the future, and he couldn’t truly uphold his promise to stay out of harms way, I held tight to the fact that I he would ALWAYS fight as hard as he could to make it home to us.
In my short time as a LEOW, there are four big emotions I have felt in relation to the business of serving and protecting.
- Accepting the amount of danger he faces every time he walks out the door.
- Overwhelmed with the reality of what it would mean if he didn’t come home.
- Being completely numb to it all so that I can go about my day without any of those thoughts.
- Extreme and overwhelming pride for the selflessness and compassion that my husband displays while keeping evil at bay.
There have been 64 law enforcement deaths in 2018 alone. Thirty-six of those officers were fatally shot, and it seems a new tragedy hits the news every week.
This thin blue line is hard to walk and the wolves are around every corner. The job is full of unknowns and these heroes dive into the darkest places of society on a daily basis.
It is our job to give them a safe space to return home to at the end of a long shift; a light at the end of their day.
My heart is truly broken for those that have lost a loved one in the line of duty. My prayers go out to those families and the partners and co-workers going back to work after they lost their brother or sister in blue; for the children who will grow up without a parent; for the dispatchers that hear the devastating radio traffic and that give that “Last Call.”
Thank you, each and every one of you, for your service.
Although this violence and evil towards our beloved law enforcement officers will still go on, I urge you to take the time with your family and your spouse and be thankful for EVERY … SINGLE … DAY their duty belt is scattered over the kitchen table.
Be familiar with End of Watch planning, as your heart is able to process it. And above all, pray for our officers and love them as well as you can. Take heart in the plans God has for your LEO and your family.
Always remember, you are loved and no one in this family fights alone.
Amanda Kennedy, LBSW, is a proud LEOW of three years. She received her bachelors of social work from Washburn University in 2015, with an emphasis in psychology and leadership.
She is a follower of Christ and wife to her state trooper and mom to three young children. She is a supporter of the Thin Blue Line and participates in LE conferences and support/aid to law enforcement any chance she can.
Amanda is currently staying home to raise her children and runs a part time photography business.