It’s 10:35 and I lay in bed waiting to hear the same sound that I long to hear every night he works. The sound of the door inadvertently slamming behind him lulls me into immediate sleep. This night was no different than the rest. After work, I get the girls from my mom, sister, or after school program it just depends on the day and my families’ schedules. I like to have the girls go with my mom or sister. The girls prefer it, plus it saves us money. I am very fortunate to have my family help us throughout the years.
We get home and I try and figure out dinner. I hate cooking, coupled with my inability to cook it makes for interesting meals. My husband is an amazing cook and there are many days that I attempt to cook a nice meal to entice him home, but when it comes time for his identified “dinner break” he doesn’t show up. He can’t. I try to remember that he wants to, but he can’t.
The girls and I spend another dinner just the three of us. We say our prayers. My youngest always says, “and protect daddy and his friends when they are working.” The other day it hit me…I wonder if other children have the same prayer as my youngest? We try and have a nice dinner and talk about school or friends or our plan for the evening, but more often than not the girls are wanting to talk about daddy and wishing daddy was home. “Me too,” I say. My oldest puts on the scanner because she wants to hear daddy. I oblige because secretly I do too. The three of us are sitting around the scanner like 3 preteens waiting for a boy to request a song for us on the radio. Soon enough we hear “1Charlie44* DK driver north 65”. Without missing a beat my oldest says, “well daddy is definitely not coming home if he just pulled over a drunk driver.” I nod my head in agreement. My oldest and I gush over hearing his voice. My youngest usually reacts in repulse while hitting her palm on her forehead and shaking her head. We turn off the scanner because we know that more than likely he won’t be back on in while and I try to live a somewhat “normal” life when he’s working. Grace jokingly says to me, “mom, normal doesn’t exist.”
“What do you mean normal doesn’t exist?” I say. “Mom, my friends probably don’t know what a police scanner is.” She’s right…our life is not normal. Most kids are reciting things from their favorite t.v. shows. Mine; from a police scanner. It might very well be sad that they knew call codes, military time….”10-4, ETA, Nora, Zebra, DK, ….” If anything it gives comfort. I am certainly not one to overreact if I hear something on the scanner and honestly we don’t listen all that much, but in an odd way it provides us comfort.
We go about our evening as usual and bedtime is met with the typical refusals. The girls ask to call daddy. There’s no answer. I tell them he is really busy and if I hear from him I will tell him to stop in and give them squeezes. That seems to pacify them. We say our prayers and they go to sleep.
It’s now 11:30, I am wide awake. I haven’t heard that sweet sound that I love hearing so much. My mind starts to think of the what if’s. The irrational thoughts seem to overtake the rational ones. “He clearly had a drunk driver and so why would I think he would be home on time?” I just need to keep telling myself that and then maybe I could fall asleep. “Well what if….., but a Deputy and a Chaplin would be here by now if something happened.” “You just need to fall asleep, everything is fine.” The mind is a powerful thing and the Devil knows my weakness.
It’s midnight, I start to think of the club that no wife wants to be a part of and wonder if I just joined that club unknowingly. I have spoken to a few of these wives. They’re just like me. Officer Shawn Silvera’s wife, Jennifer I met her at one of the funerals. I remember her strength and recall thinking there was no way I could be that strong. She carries on her late husband’s legacy in many ways. I envy her courage and emotional strength. Officer Scott Patrick’s wife, Michelle I was sort of speechless when I met her. I didn’t know what to say. I just cried, told her that I was sorry for her loss, and hugged her. Once composed, I had an amazing conversation with her and acknowledged the beauty that I felt the picture
of her daughter in the funeral possession with her hands shaped in a heart resonated me to my very core. Officer Tommy Decker’s wife, Alicia though I never spoke to her directly I will never forget seeing her walking behind her husband’s casket and needing to be held up by two of his partners and the last impression that I had when everyone was leaving the gravesite. She was just sitting there in the freezing cold, starring at her husband’s casket. I cannot even imagine what she was thinking…just sitting there clutching onto her husband’s jacket and the flag that was presented to her. Though I did not attend Deputy Steve Sandberg’s funeral, I did listen to his daughter Cassie’s eulogy. The incredible strength she had while talking about how wonderful her dad was.
My irrational self starts to think about something possibly happening and my mind shifts to the girls and how they adore their dad, devastation would be an understatement. I get up and try calling him…nothing. Text? Nothing. My rational self again says he’s just busy with a drunk driver and will be home…give my worries to God.
It's 12:30…1:00am…” just go to bed Carrie…everything is fine” …I try and try to convince myself. It’s not working.
It’s 1:12am and I hear the most beautiful sound that I have been waiting for since 10:35, but this time it doesn’t lull me to sleep. This time, I am so overcome with emotions that I jump out of bed to see him. Clearly he knows me too well because he doesn’t even first take off his duty belt, he comes directly to see me. He confirms that he had a drunk driver and with the entire process and paperwork it takes a very long time. I know this. I try and tell my rational self this over and over, but I wonder if Jennifer, Michelle, Alicia, or even Cassie ever did the same.
It only takes one time, one situation, one call, one person and my life would be forced to change. Grace is right this is not normal, our life is not normal, normal doesn’t exist.
I so wish we were normal or in the least not need the sound of a slamming door to bring me peace.
*not accurate call code for safety & Department reasons