"From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it."
Before I started dating my fiance, I knew quite a few women who lived that life and my cousin was one I was close with. She has a 2 year old daughter, another baby on the way and a husband who is a detective on the same department as Jason. She constantly tells me that she feels like Superwoman some days because her husband gets called into work or has to work the night shift during the week while she takes care of her daughter by herself. When my cousin and I started hanging out a lot more, I came over to her place for dinner one night while her husband was working. Jason and I don't have any kids yet, so I really didn't know how much work a child is to begin with, but seeing everything my cousin had to that night was eye opening. She constantly tells me "Make sure you are ready for this when you have kids."
I've read a few of books about being in the law enforcement life to try and deal with it head on. There's nothing normal about it. Many nights are spent cooking dinner by myself, taking care of all three dogs (they are nothing like children, but still a handful) and sleeping alone. His schedule is constantly rotating and most weekends out of the year are spent working. Anything that I need to get done when he is working or because he is sleeping after he gets off work, I have to do myself. That only covers those like Jason on the patrol schedule. I can't imagine how stressed my cousin gets when her husband gets called out in the middle of dinner or a family outing.
I've noticed lately that because we talk mainly over text when he is on the night shift, that there is a communication gap. I constantly go to talk to him about something on his days off and he looks at me funny and I completely forget that I never mentioned it to him to begin with! This happens because he works in the worst sector, so I never get more than 5 minutes without some criminal interrupting. I get the "Can I call you back... *CLICK*" because he has to rush off to a call. It's frustrating but I learned early on that it's just the way communication goes when he is working.
There's also the issue of "the attitude", something else my cousin warned me about. The attitude is the way Jason talks to me after getting off work or when he's severely agitated about something that probably happened at work. There are days Jason will say something so rude or mean to me and I have to look at him, count to ten, and say "please re-evaluate what you just said to me." or "please don't talk to me like I'm a criminal." and usually he will snap back at me and then apologize a few minutes later. 90% of the time I can deal with this because I know it's just the cop attitude from dealing with scum of the earth all day/night, but it's something you just have to get yourself accustomed to dealing with. It's not about allowing a man to disrespect you, it's about knowing that you love him enough to coax him back to reality because it's not him talking to you that way.
No one ever wants to get the call. The call that your officer has been in an accident or a shooting, or just injured in general. Some women constantly stress themselves out and live in that fear that this could happen any time. Some women don't sleep at night when their officer is at work. I choose not to let that fear consume me. It's not that I necessarily stuff it down and ignore the feeling, but losing sleep and giving myself wrinkles worrying about him is not going to prevent something from happening to him.
"Everything happens for a reason."
I won't straight out lie to the people that read my blog, I do think about the "what ifs" and I do stress myself out some days worrying what I would ever do without Jason. I get emotional to the point that my girlfriends have to snap me back to reality, I just don't make it public. A relationship with a police officer is not for the weak. Any relationship takes communication and understanding, but a law enforcement relationship takes a lot of work. The more you add into the equation (kids, school, pets, planning a wedding, ahem) the harder it gets. There are a ton of resources out there, including "Lives Behind the Badge" by Kristi Neace and "I Love a Cop" by Ellen Kirschman. There are also a ton of websites and groups dedicated to helping spouses and family members deal with the law enforcement life, such as Wives Behind the Badge and National Police Wives Association.
The reason I am writing this post today instead of my regular "Fab Five Tuesday" is because of the emotions surrounding the next two weeks. Two years ago yesterday marked the 2 year anniversary of Jason's friend Tommy getting into his car accident going to a call. It was a long two weeks before he passed away in the hospital on March 9, 2010. Jason and I weren't dating at the time, but he still has his moments when he hears a song or sees something that reminds him of Tommy and he gets real quiet, which is very unlike Jason. I didn't know Tommy, but he meant a lot to the man I love which is why I respect the emotions around this time of year and try to be a part of Tommy's celebrations as much as I can. Kristelle, you are an amazing, strong person and the reason I chose to write this post today. We love you and hope that you are apart of our lives for a long time.
The Police Officer's Prayer
to St. Michael
to St. Michael
Saint Michael, heaven's glorious commissioner of police,
who once so neatly and successfully cleared God's premises
of all its undesirables, look with kindly and professional
eyes on your earthly force.
Give us cool heads, stout hearts, and uncanny flair for
investigation and wise judgement.
Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and
law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores,
strict with law-breakers and impervious to temptations.
You know, Saint Michael, from your own experiences
with the devil that the police officer's lot on earth is not
always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so
pleased God, your hard knocks that so surprised the
devil, and your angelic self-control give us inspiration.
And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your
heavenly force, where we will be as proud to guard the
throne of God as we have been to guard the city of all
the people. Amen.