Today, I’m tired. I’m tired because as I’m mourning my brother who was assassinated in the line of duty on March 1st in Euless, Texas, I have to think about you. I think about the moment you received a knock on the door from uniformed men and women with somber faces. I think about how you walk up to the door thinking that this isn’t good. But, believing at the same time that it can’t really be bad either, because you love your officer. It just can’t be that bad. And, then it is.
It is, in fact, the worst.
I think about the moment you receive a phone call or a visit from a panicked loved one and you hear the words uttered that: “He was shot. He’s gone.” And all you can think is: “No, it can’t be. It’s not him. It can’t be him. I love him. He can’t be gone. He’s a good person. He can’t be gone.”
But, he is.
But, he can’t be.
But, he is.
I think about how you will rush to the hospital, or make your way to the funeral home. You will see the rest of your family and those closest to you, and you will sit in silence, confused, because this is all wrong. Then, something odd will happen or someone will say something funny and you smile or laugh, because this is all so unreal. And, you will think how can I possibly laugh right now. My husband is dead. Or, my dad is dead. Or, my brother is dead.
In the next moment, you will look around and wonder why you’re there, in that moment, in that situation. And you’ll remember that:
“He was killed.”
And you’ll think that it can’t be. He was a good person. This only happens to “other people.”
But, it happened. And, you’re really at the funeral home, making decisions about caskets and flowers.
I think about how your family in Blue will take your hand, squeeze your shoulder, bring you a plate of food that you don’t want to touch. They will glance in your direction, feeling helpless that they can’t do anything to ease your pain, except perhaps, get you to drink a cup of water and eat a bite of anything at all. You will feel ill. Your stomach will hurt. Your chest will feel so heavy. You will feel like you can’t breathe.
As you sit there, making decisions on music and viewings, you will think:
“How can a person bear this much pain.”
“How am I still breathing? How am I still walking?”
Some moments you will think: “I wish the world would just open up and take me away.”
I think about how you will go to sleep at night, exhausted, and when you wake up, for just a moment things will be ok, and then the knowledge of what has happened will wash over you and you will experience the deepest, darkest sadness you will ever know. And this will happen morning after morning, at least for a little while.
I’m no expert at grieving, but I’m a few months ahead of where you are. There is nothing that anyone will say or do that will feel right, because right now everything is just wrong. People will try to comfort you, tell you there is a reason for everything, tell you that an angel went home or that something good will come from all this.
Know that they mean well, but they can’t possibly understand what it means to have someone you love torn from you in the most violent way possible.
After Dave was killed I received a letter from a father, who lost his own son too soon. He wrote: “Time does not heal the pain. The pain you feel at the loss will never diminish but every day you will get stronger in how you deal and cope with that pain.” This was the most helpful thing anyone has said to me.
These words will bring you little comfort in these horrible days ahead, but know that we are thinking of you. We understand. We’re here. You will, somehow, make it.
You have to make it, because your man in blue needs you too.
~ Meret H., sister of David S. Hofer, EOW 3/1/2016