The Heart of a LEO Wife
She is married to a man with a badge and a gun. Daily she watches him put on his bullet proof vest, then his uniform, boots and duty belt. And she wonders, “Will he come home safely today?” He is strong and she admires the calling on his life. It is a calling that few can answer, and a calling that many do not understand. For the LEO wife, she is proud of her husband and she wants the world to know how hard he works and the personal sacrifices he makes to ensure the safety of the community he serves.
→ Reality Check #1: It was late in the evening and I was heading home for the night. My man-in-blue had been at work all day and we hadn’t talked. A few hours earlier, I had tried to reach him several times to check-in to see what his ETA was for dinner. His phone went straight to voicemail and he hadn’t responded to any text messages. As I pulled around the corner to my house my heart dropped…the site of 4 police SUV’s in front of my house sent my stomach to my feet. Within the 30 seconds it took to reach my house, I choked-up and became paralyzed with the reality that they could be here to tell me my husband was hurt or even worse…dead. Thank goodness, I was wrong. The police were dealing with a neighbor’s issue. Later that night I found out that my man-in-blue’s phone battery had died and that’s why he hadn’t responded. Though I am not his mom, I scolded him and reminded him of the reality that the LEO wife faces everyday her husband goes to work.
The Qualities of a LEO Wife
Loving a man with a badge is a calling…just as her husband is called to serve…she is called to love him. During her husband’s 25 years of service there will be many challenges. The LEO wife can never be certain what each day will bring for her husband and her kids. She carries the weight of raising their children. If she is not called and equipped…she won’t survive. It is critical that she has qualities and skills to help her along the journey:
- Thick Skin
- Independent Spirit
- Ability to Run the Household Alone
- Flexible and Adaptable
- Strong and Determined
- Decision Maker
→ Reality Check #2: My man-in-blue and I wanted to host a couples’ Bible study at our home. His day off was Sunday so naturally it seemed like the best choice. Bible study meeting #1 and #2 were a success. Bible study meeting #3, canceled. The night prior at 2am, a pedestrian hit and run. Because my man-in-blue ran the traffic division he had to go in and didn’t make it back for 18-hours. Bible study meeting #4, canceled. Fatal car accident that day and my man-in-blue had to go in. Bible study meeting #5, cancelled. Fatal pedestrian vs. car accident. Needless to say, we decided to cancel the study altogether.
The Emotions of a LEO Wife
It is a push and pull, roller coaster ride. The LEO wife loves her man-in-blue, and she draws close to him and is vulnerable. However, being vulnerable is scary so she pulls back. Because she has to be independent she might build an emotional wall to help her withstand the uncertainty of her husband’s job. While the emotional wall serves her well at times…it also causes problems…especially when she wants to connect with him. Emotions are all over the board for her…from fear and worry to honor and a sense of pride to frustration and anger to love and joy.
→Reality Check #3: There was a media release that my man-in-blue was part of. The media aired two sentences from a 20-minute interview. The two sentences they aired weren’t in context. The public didn’t get the entire interview because the media took it upon themselves to serve their ratings only and not the interest of the public. Once again, the men-in-blue were misrepresented by the media.
The Villianization of the LEO Wife’s Husband
Probably the most disheartening aspect of being a LEO wife is the villianization of the police. In her heart, she cannot understand why anyone would be on a mission to destroy the safety and security of America. Not only does she have to face the inherent risks that could result in her husband’s death…now she has to deal with the press and those on social media who are tearing down, ripping apart and judging every move an officer makes. She takes it personal because her husband is upright, he stands for justice and he sacrifices his life for theirs. He misses out on family time and activities. And when they call 911…while everyone else is running away from…he runs towards. He carries the burden of his community’s safety on his shoulders…yet they beat him down, demean him and hurl insults.
→Reality Check #4: Word came in about an officer involved shooting. I gasp for breath before I check the details. Frantically, I first look to see what department was involved, hoping it’s not my man-in-blue. Then I pick up the phone with my heart pounding…he answers and my heart slows down with a sigh of relief. However, sadness still overcomes me because I know it is someone else’s man-in-blue…another LEO wife like me whose life has changed forever.
To All the Men-In-Blue Out There:
We (LEO wives) see your sacrifice. When you come home after a long day, the weight of what you dealt with shows on your face. You do a challenging, but necessary job, and a job that without it, would destroy the safety and security of our nation. The world will never know the toll it takes on you to see someone who just blew out their brains, or to respond to a child abuse call or to be the first on scene at a fatal car accident or to deal with disrespectful thugs who have no respect for authority. When you lose brothers and sisters around the country you mourn because you know it could have been you. To top it off the media and culture has turned against you for no good reason.
We (LEO wives) honor you. You are heroes to be celebrated. You’re always running towards danger trying to take precautions but the risk is high…the risk is your life. You make it so we (the public) can sleep at night. You don’t get enough credit but that’s not why you do this job anyway. It is a call on your life and we are proud LEO wives. We stand with you and we love you.
In loving memory of the officer’s who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, and to the LEO wives, children and families left behind.
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