When He Walks Through Deep Waters
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas on August 25th, 2017. My husband went to work in southwest Houston on Saturday, and still made it home that evening. It quickly became evident the rainbands were bearing down on us and it would become more difficult for him to be able to get to work. So early Sunday morning he packed his bags and headed back in.
By the time he made it to the city, the flooding had already begun and he had to leave his vehicle on the freeway for several days to avoid the floodwaters. He was picked up by a high water vehicle and began his work in the city. That Sunday turned into a very long day.
As the morning went on, the rain became heavier, like someone was dumping a bucket of water on us. We watched as the water rose all over the city, and in front of our home. We started hearing news reports of people crawling into their attics to try and escape the floodwaters. Then they called in the U.S. Coast Guard.
As a result, I became very nervous for the welfare of my children. Moreover, my husband and I made the decision for me to leave while there was a break in the rain. It seemed like an easy decision; to drive your children to safety and take the worry off of yourself and your spouse, so he can focus on work. My adrenaline started pumping as I loaded up clothes and snacks and packed everyone into the car. As I started driving away, headed for a friends house further north, the tears came.
I felt like I was abandoning him. It felt like I had left him there to walk through the waters alone.
The guilt and grief were overwhelming for me and I cried most of the four hour drive. Thankfully I have friends who understand the life of a police wife and they reminded me that this is who he is, he’s a first responder. Even if I would have begged him to stay, he would have gone. They reminded me that by taking care of myself and my children, I was easing his burden because he no longer had to worry about our safety. I didn’t sleep well for the next three days and I was praying constantly for his safety. I felt helpless watching so many others suffer.
We finally made it back home and the clean up around the city has begun. The response by others has been overwhelming. While our home was spared, so many others weren’t. I want to be out there helping, cleaning, serving, but small children prevent me from being able to do those things. I have been feeling guilty sitting at home with them while everyone else was knee deep in mud and sheetrock.
Then I came across an article explaining what it’s like to be a first responder and what it’s like coming off of an event like this. I am beginning to realize how important it is for me to be here, sitting at home with my children. He needs me to be here to lift the burden at home, so that when he comes home he can rest.
We hear this a lot as police wives and there’s always arguments about what is fair and what he should do. But in the reality of the aftermath of something as destructive as Harvey, I believe it is more important than ever to help ease the burden. I don’t think anyone can work for days at a time with the kind of fight or flight response their bodies go through and come home and not crash. Screaming toddlers fighting over a toy becomes trivial and difficult to deal with in light of the complete destruction they have been witnessing. So for now, my place is here in our home where I can do simple things for him to help him be 100% when others need him.
If you are a police wife, don’t ever underestimate your job behind the scenes.
When he walks through deep waters, I will be waiting on the other side.
– Em C
Editors note: Law Enforcement Today really appreciates Em C’s words amid the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast of Texas. While Floridians brace for Hurricane Irma, we pray for protection, strength, and surety for our first responders. This seems like dejavu!
(Photo courtesy 1st Lt. Zachary West, U.S. Army)