You don’t think it will happen to your family. I mean you do think it will happen to your family, but you think you are crazy for thinking that.
You are the one in law enforcement. You are the ones in harm’s way. You are the one who is locking up the bad guys and making them mad. You are the one they name in the jail calls. You are the one threatened.
You fear it will happen to your family, but you think that fear is irrational. You think it is just because you see a disproportionate amount of evil, because every single homicide in the county goes through an office on your floor, or because every time a child is goes missing you get the call, or because you sit on that child fatality review board so you see every single death.
You fear, but think you are being irrational.
But then it happens.
My husband was killed by a random gunman, completely unrelated to my role as a human trafficking prosecutor. Now a colleague’s son was killed in a home invasion. A colleague who is one of the 10 core human trafficking players, in it from the beginning. A colleague who has been in harm’s way, more times than he can count. His son was killed playing video games at a friend’s house during a home invasion. That means this has happened to 20% of us. Is Atlanta really this horrific?
You think that fear is irrational, but even when it does happen, the time spent worrying was still wasted time. I’ve heard people talk about how much time we spend worrying about things that will never happen. I would like to add to that that even if you are one of those people who experience your worst fear, you will regret wasting time spent worrying, because it doesn’t make a difference anyways and it just steals your life before the loss.
It has been a rough week for many related to law enforcement. One of my friends was careful to tell me before I heard about the shooting randomly. At first it didn’t affect me like I thought it would. And then Tuesday night, I didn’t sleep. I sobbed all night.
You truly never know what is going to trigger grief, once you have experienced a major loss. March is shaping up to be a perfect minefield. The first months after a loss you are allowed to crash, take some time, and just grieve. Later on, no matter how much it feels needed, you may not be able to crash. You don’t “get over” grief, but you do learn to live with it. Sometimes that means you have to learn to feel the deepest pain, and then put it aside for 8 hours to work and function, until you can return to your tears and the pain that makes it hard to breathe.
Most of my grief waves only last a day or two these days. This one seems to be a much bigger storm, and for that reason I will not apologize for the state of my living room, or my ability to respond to texts for awhile. Those 8 hours take every ounce of available strength, during this storm.
The forecasters are useless for grief storms. I check the hourly weather forecast several times a day right now, so that I maximize warm dry hours outdoors. I also check the 10 day forecast at least once a day, so I know what is coming. There is no such thing for a wave of grief. Tomorrow could be fantastic, or I could cry every moment I’m not publicly working. Tomorrow night, I could have the energy to clean the house, or I could lay on the couch while playing with Zoya, until I can put us both to bed.