I have lost my voice.
I don't know if it's a physical manifestation of grief, or if I've caught something. Either way, I'm not quite myself.
There are so many things I'd like to share about Friday, but I'm not sure I can without it becoming too much.
Things like the children that stood along their school's fence, flags in hand, waving as our procession went by on the way to the cemetary; how I had to remind myself to breathe as the casket was brought out of the chapel and the officers not serving as pallbearers all placed their hands over their hearts in perfect unison, the sadness on their faces so near the surface I wished I could just hold them all; the overwhelming sense of caring and respect that was palpable as we walked between rows of officers lining the path into the church; and everywhere, everywhere, a sea of blue, so perfect in appearance and mannerisms it was an honor just to be standing among them.
While it is true that the situation, the reason we were together was tragic, I have never been so proud to be part of the law enforcement family as I was that day.
Our officers, our agency, pulled together in this terrible time and did the right thing all week long for the family, for his widow, and for Rob. All the while, still doing their jobs. It was nothing short of amazing.
Other agencies stepped forward and helped ours with all kinds of things, from covering dispatch so people could attend the services, to covering our bad accidents; they were there for ours. Just seeing them at the services, and all along the route we travelled, and at the cemetary; knowing that they were doing this out of brotherhood, and not necessarily because they knew anyone--it was nothing short of touching.
And yesterday, at a memorial the department held, officers were given the opportunity to speak, their own personal recollections of their friend. While the stories were varied, all of them had elements that were just pure Rob binding them together.
I think that is what has helped throughout this week, the elements of pure Rob that we all remember and hold dear, urging us to put one foot in front of the other, pushing us forward to do our best, while at the same time not letting us forget.
It has been nothing short of surreal.