A Thought: 8 Months Gone

Today marks the 8th month since that horrible day. I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems like I’ve been in a time-warp. 8 months?! How is that even possible?! The words fail me today, so I will leave you with some of Dave’s own words.

Back when we moved to NYC, and both Dave’s and my English was pretty poor (I was 14, Dave was 11), we entered a beautiful school in Brooklyn Heights that allows students to pursue whatever interests they can dream up. Dave decided he wanted to give pottery a try. Well, due to a little language mix-up, what he saw in the course listing turned out to be POETRY not pottery – a big surprise on that first day of class. Regardless, Dave must have liked it, because he ended up staying in that poetry class from 5th grade all the way through High School.

Dave wrote many, many poems during that time that we recently rediscovered. Dave kept his writing to himself, so I hesitate a bit to share this. But, just as Dave was good at getting me out of my comfort zone, I was good at doing the same for him. In his thoughts about fragility and impermanence, I see March 1st.

The trees were shaking.
Then I hear thunder.
I looked outside again.
Now the trees were shaking even more.
It was a scary sight, something so
Powerful, so big, so strong.
And yet, shaken up so easily.
Crack…
Or should I say,
Broken so easily.

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I think the poem may be from beginning of high school — so around the time of this photo

To the Families of Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa

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.

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

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A Story: End of Watch

“There was one day where I was sitting alone with Dave. He found this the perfect time  to question me about my worries in regards to making the move to Texas. “What’s your biggest fear about moving here?” I told him that in the NYPD Mike always had a partner and although Euless seems like a safe area, I just didn’t love the idea of him being alone. Dave instantly laughed. He said: “You think Mike will ever be alone? He’s MY partner, kiddddd! I always have his back. If that’s your biggest fear you’re fine. I’d die for him and that’s the truth.”

Fast forward a few months, Mike and Dave constantly reminded us of the movie End of Watch. “This movie is so completely like us” they’d say. Both Marta and I never laughed and said: “That’s not funny because one gets killed in the end.”

If you’ve never seen the End of Watch, I’d suggest keeping it that way. It is heartbreaking, but a true depiction of what police officers go through. In the movie, tragically, the officers were ambushed, leaving one officer to watch his partner get killed, which now more than ever hits home.

In the end, during David’s final moments, he was with Mike, Ed, and Mo and Dave did exactly what he had promised me he would do. He saved Mike’s life and there are no words to describe how thankful I am for what he did. He truly honored their brotherhood and will be honored as a hero forever in my eyes.

~ Stefanie O., Friend

A Thought: To Our Heroes

This post is long overdue, but know that we have thought of you every single day. These words are dedicated to Dave’s friends and fellow officers who were there with him on March 1st.

You were there. You did everything in your power to save him. You were shot at. Yet, you moved forward in the face of grave danger without consideration of your own safety. You prevented the loss of more lives. You were with him in his last moments. 

Barely a moment to grieve,  you’re already back out there again. In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, you’re once again patrolling the streets, helping strangers, responding to more “shots fired” calls.

You are heroes. My family knows this.

You are in our hearts, always.

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In Memory: 5/10/16

“Dear Euless Police Department
Police Department thank you for helping all of the people you try to save. Yall always have all of the stuff yall need to finish the job. And how are you so brave to stand up to dangerise things always. I hope yall all can protect us forever as log as yall are living. good by
Police safe and save police people.”

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In Memory: 05/07/16

Dear Hofer family.
We all Know officer hofer was a good man. We are so soory that he past away. me and my friend prad abat it. he wus a  good man he sakrfast for us.
~ Julian Reyes

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In Memory: 04/30/16

“I know some people dont like you because you give out tickets each day, but we all will remember ya’ll risk your lives for us each day. Once I watched this video, I never realized a tear roll down my cheaks like a angel coming from heavon to meet us. Police Officer…oh…Hofer you aren’t just a Police Officer, you risked your lives for innocent little kids and adults. Your in a better place called Hevean, as your up there can you tell my daddy I miss and love him, and tell him to be nice to you if not, you have the handcuffs.

Rest. In. Love
I may not know, but my dad up there can tell you all about me.
I will ask the man upstairs to make sure your family is safe as possible.
You have the handcuffs and we will make sure you will always do Hofer.
I’ve never seen my teacher ever cryed in my life, my teacher’s eyes were like a tiny river filler with tears and random kindness.”

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