About a month or so ago, Mr W and I were watching tv. There was a piece on the news about a man who had received a heart transplant that was graduating college. No big whup these days, heart transplants are hardly news, but the man had received his heart from a young college student who had been killed by a drunk driver. The man decided he would honor the memory of the college student by going back to college and completing the student's degree (computer science).
I was touched by this story, then I got this bitter, angry feeling, and I was at once overcome with emotion.
You see, at the time, we were approaching the one year anniversary of the death of one of our officers, a friend of my husband's, someone who was very dear to me.
It may seem irrational, petty even, but I wondered to myself who would honor Rob in that way? Certainly not the idiot who was responsible for his death.
The answer came to me later, on two separate occasions, and it's one I've known all along.
The first time, it happened when Mr W and I met for lunch one day, one of those miracles of timing where he had a break and I was without children. We were on our way to sit down when this lady came up to him, made a point of getting his attention, touched his shoulder and said "Thank you."
Mr W kinda tilted his head and asked, "For what?" (You never know, when you're in uniform, what to expect.)
She smiled and said, "Thank you for serving."
That's it, I thought. Rob's memory is honored by my husband continuing to serve.
It was underscored for me last Monday, as I stood in next to my husband, once again in a sea of navy blue, as the unveiling of our Public Safety Memorial took place. I thought of all those guys, going to work, serving, doing their jobs...day in and day out, knowing that their friend is no longer with them. It's not a small feat for them, considering that Rob's name is still quite often on people's lips and his face is everywhere, all over the station.
They honor his memory every day, just by continuing to do their jobs.
Which, I am sure, is exactly what he would have wanted them to do. Keep crimefighting.
Later that week, I took my kids to see the statue. It's bronze, of a fireman, handing a child over to a police officer. (The police officer is modeled after Rob, and it bears quite a resemblance to him.) As we walked up, I noticed a freshly minted officer (he just had the newbie look about him) there with his family, walking around, looking, and talking about it. I quietly took the kids around, pointing things out and answering their questions.
There was a lull in my conversation, and I heard the other officer's son ask, as he pointed up at the statue, "Is that the guy?"
"Yes," I heard him reply. "That's the guy."
He most certainly was, I thought to myself as I gathered my kids and we headed to the car.