Open Letter to a Rookie’s Spouse: Fear Not. You aren’t Alone.

Your significant other has always wanted to be an officer. They have that “first man in, last man out” mentality. They were born to do something heroic and brave. They have a heart that is so desperate to change the world that their career path is far more than just a job; it’s a calling.  When they sat down to tell you that they were considering the police academy, your heart either soared with pride or sank with fear.  For some people, it was both.

I didn’t know my husband when he decided to go into police work.  He had already been employed by our local police department for several years before he swept me off my feet. When I began dating him, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was new to this world of extra precautions, unforeseen reasons for plans to be broken, and the stress that came along with dating someone that didn’t cope like I did.  No matter how exciting my day was, I quickly learned that it failed to compare to the continuous adrenaline rush he experienced at work.  I really had no idea what I was getting myself into but, all I knew was that I loved this man enough to go along with the ride.

And, it has been so worth it.

As I watched the events unfold on my television after the initial unrest that took place in Ferguson, I remember feeling so much anger.  Mainstream media wasn’t just talking about Darren Wilson.  It wasn’t a story that revolved solely around Michael Brown.  It was a blatant crucifixion of the characters of the men and women I know and love.   As I observed my husband watching the virtual slaughter of his occupation, I started thinking about you and how scared you must be.  What kind of sacrifice did your husband or wife just sign up for?  What did this mean for your family?  Were you scared?  Angry? Unable to process your feelings?  As a veteran wife, I imagine you were feeling very similarly to me.

Let me tell you something.  You aren’t alone.  The world is scary.  Blood is being spilled on the blue line at an alarming rate these days.  It’s scary and I know that there are days where you want to ask your spouse to consider doing something that is a little less dangerous.  The thing is, for the vast majority, they won’t.  They aren’t going to let the world tell them who they are.  They aren’t going to let the vocal and sparse voices of the few set the stage for who they are and how they will be remembered.  They are going to continue to serve.  They are going to continue to protect.  They are going to still be the honorable and courageous person you married.

I said earlier that I didn’t know exactly what I signed up for when I married my husband.  After several years, I can tell you now.

1.  Family –  I signed up for family.  During the most difficult times of our lives, I can honestly say that we have never had to face them alone.  I found an incredible network of wives that have come together to process the events of today.  Find your community.  Find your fellowship.  Find people who understand you. You won’t regret it.

2.  Discipline – I learned that I no longer just represented myself out in public.  I represented my entire police family. Just like every officer in uniform represents their brothers and sisters in blue, I represented a family unit when I was outside the comfort of my own home.  That is not a responsibility I take lightly.  I hope I do you justice and I hope you will pay me the same consideration in return.

3.  Introspect – Listening to the stories that these officers face has made me evaluate the things in this world that truly matter. You had a fight with your mom?  It will pass. Had a flat tire?  That’s nothing.  There are families going through far more difficult things than just a few unfortunate events.  It also convicted me to really dig deep and make sure that I was giving everything I could possibly give to parenting.  I don’t want to hand over a broken life to a child who doesn’t deserve that.  He deserves the best versions of ourselves and it’s our responsibility to give that to them.

4.  Flexibility –  I learned how to be comfortable by myself.  I know that most holidays will involve me going solo with my little boy. I also know that my date night can be cancelled in a split second because something tragic is happening across the city.  That’s okay.  Yes, I want to experience those occasions with my husband but I also want him to be able to do what he is called to do without guilt or concern that he is failing me.

5.  Courage – I found courage in my life that I had been lacking before.  If they can suit up, day in and day out, I could muster up the courage to send them out the door.  I could muster up the courage to support them despite my own fears.  If they were brave enough to lose their life to their calling, I had to be brave enough to accept that possibility.  That may be the most difficult sentence I’ve ever written but, it’s true.  We have no choice but to be brave.

Basically, you aren’t going to ever feel like a regular person because, quite honestly, we aren’t normal people.  We have to be able to bend, break and be put back together again.  I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone.  If you are having a difficult time processing the news and the consistent tragedy that we wake up to every day, reach out.  You can reach out to me or our group at Humanizing the Badge.  You can reach out to your local Police Department and ask if there are services in place to help families cope with their fears.  You can organize events that bring your police family together.

Being a police spouse isn’t easy.  It involves so much strength.  There will be days that you are afraid.  There will be days that you cry.  There will be days that you celebrate their heroics and good deeds. And, there will be days that you feel like enough is enough.  There will not, however, ever be days that you are alone.  Whether it be from the Midwest, the East Coast, or across the ocean abroad, we are all standing with you.

Your spouse is going to change the world.  And, here’s a newsflash for you.  You’re going to be changing the world right along side him.

Oh.  And, hey……Rookie spouse…..#WeSeeYou.

REALTHINBLUELINE

Much love –

Elizabeth

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About humanizing_the_badge

A group of creatives that is dedicating their talent to encouraging and supporting our Law Enforcement and their families. This is not a site where we are willing to allow negative comments about Law Enforcement. Don't even waste your time. If you want to debate something, leave it to the comment sections in your local news paper. It isn't welcome here. This is a place to encourage and support our Law Enforcement Families. HTB Productions 616 Corporate Way, Suite 2-4184 Valley Cottage, NY 10989
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16 Responses to Open Letter to a Rookie’s Spouse: Fear Not. You aren’t Alone.

  1. Pingback: OPEN LETTER TO ROOKIE SPOUSE | Serve & Protect

  2. deannarizziello says:

    This is an amazing post. Beautifully written!

    Like

  3. Pingback: Good Read | Beside The Badge

  4. Kenny says:

    Very well written good job. I retired after 25 years just a couple months ago. There was a time when I would encourage people to become cops. Not anymore its just not worth it.

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on Thoughts of A Chaplain and commented:
    This is a post from a group supporting spouses of officers. There is some really great points here.

    Like

  6. sharda Mohabir says:

    Great read. This article really hits home.

    Like

  7. Dr k says:

    Thank you for an outstanding article. As a retired police officer and now a police psychologist I see sacrifice the family pays in addition to the price the officer pays. Unfortunately it has become “fashionable ” in the news media for the decision an officer must make in a split second

    Like

  8. John Roman says:

    Great post. A must read for all police families.

    Like

  9. Thank you for such an amazing article! I think it will help a lot of rookie wives, and some seasoned ones as well! You are a very gifted writer!

    Like

  10. Sandra says:

    So very supportive of the “new” members of the family. Thank-you, never a day goes by.

    Like

  11. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this! It goes a long way to know you aren’t alone.

    Like

  12. Amanda says:

    This was so nice! my boyfriend and i have been together for 4 years, and he’s been an officer for 2 years. When I met him, I knew what he wanted to do, but like you, didn’t know really what that meant for me. I was with him and supported him thru the academy and his in department training. He just started (less than a month ago) a new job in SID. I thought I was terrified of him wearing the uniform, but let me tell you, I’m more terrified now. Plain clothes, no vest, no gun. It’s so hard for me. And though we aren’t married, we talk about it. And this job is making me consider it, rather than just knowing it’s right and will work out. Thank you so much for this post, because I do feel alone in this. It’s a nice reminder to know that I’m NOT alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. My LEO will sometimes express to me that I won’t be able to fully understand what he goes thru, but I don’t think he realizes that he will never be able to understand what we go thru. It’s different, but it’s probably just as difficult. Like you said, for most this is a calling, not a job. But I doubt many LEOW felt a calling to marry or date a cop. We just fall in love with them, and the profession is just the baggage. I struggle with this aspect of our relationship every day, and I know I just need to be strong.
    Again, Thank you.

    Like

  13. Mike says:

    I gave a paper copy of this to my trainee last night to pass on. Very well written and I thank you for everything you are doing.

    Like

  14. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for writing this to me. I am a rookie officer’s wife. My husband and I were already married when he decided to go to academy and was then hired on as an officer. I thought I was prepared for the impact it would have on our family’s life but I wasn’t. He has been solo for 7 months now and I have had to learn some hard and fast lessons. One of the hardest has been being okay with being alone. Reading this article was a great encouragement to me because it touched on many things I have struggled with over these past months. It helped me to see that I’m not alone and that there are others out there who understand. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  15. Pingback: A supporter’s pledge for my Public Safety friends | Thoughts of A Chaplain

  16. Allie Sanders says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been having trouble putting my fears and worries into words. My husband is currently a military police officer, and is applying for police departments preparing for his transition out of the Army next month. I know that he was born to be a cop, but everything happening in our country lately hurts my heart; but for him, it’s just more motivation, more fuel on his fire, more reason to pursue his dream. If he is that brave, I need to be brave too. 💙

    Like

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