I have been struggling to find the words to express the last few days events. I try to keep everyone updated on how Frank is doing, and it is often wrapped around the many different places we visit and things that we get to do.
After 3 hours of therapy on Wednesday, where we learned that Frank’s cognitive skills continue to progress, we went back to North Memorial to complete another test that measures reaction speed time. Every test indicated that he is getting closer to being able to drive again, which was great news to both of us. One of Frank’s biggest frustrations right now is not being able to drive; he wants to gain some freedom back from my clutches.
After therapy we met up with a good friend, and drove to the Chiefs of Police banquet, where Frank, along with one of his partners, were to receive an award for saving multiple people from a burning building last winter. It was an honor to be included in this ceremony, and to listen to the other stories of bravery and heroism, as each award recipient was described. Law enforcement officers are brave souls – it was moving to be in the room with so many people willing to put their lives in jeopardy without a though to their own safety. One officer, present in spirit and heart – Officer Shawn Schneider – received the Police Cross, after giving his life in the line of duty to save another.
This award was handed to his wife, in front of his peers, standing at attention with hearts heavy and hands brought together in salute. I was prepared for this award presentation, knowing it to be a hard moment for everyone. What I was not prepared for was the intense sadness I felt when I realized that his wife was sitting directly behind me that evening, and I had not known she was even present at the event. The moment I realized she was there, I began to tear up – tears that did not stop for several minutes. My heart hurts for her, another wife brought to this event to honor her hero, but a hero that cannot return to his family and children. A man who gave his life for his duty, his honor, to save another.
I talk to wives from all over the country that are part of this very small group of surviving spouses – not just those that had officers killed in the line of duty – but those living with spouses that were critically injured. This is a special group of people, living with a knowledge that we don’t want to have, a heart that has been beaten and broken, and a life that has a new fragile aspect that cannot be repaired. We don’t ask to be part of this group, but we are, and we now attempt to go on with life with this additional imprint on our soul.
Life has meaning, and brightness, and laughter – children still get hugs and kisses, vacation and soccer camp still occur, but there is a piece that can never be fixed. It is always there, But we go on, living life each day, trying to find the brightness. It is there, and we know it, we just need to try a little harder to find it each day.
It is an honor to be a LEO wife – I am proud to say I am a LEO wife.