The lesson called resilience
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
"Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient"
Resiliency endures because it touches the part of us that hurts or feels pain. Resiliency is handed down through the years, because it captures a tiny piece of reality of being human. This will be a somber blog post but appropriate for the time. On March 13, 1996, I was a young 29 year old police officer. I had been a police officer for only three years. On that day I can tell you every emotion and pain that traveled through my body. Excusing myself to go to the bathroom so I could cry. On that day we lost a friend and fellow officer Jim Jensen. During that time I learned the value of resilience.
I had been to one police funeral before but this time I knew the officer. We were both Marines and both grew up in the same area, although Jim was slightly older. It was a draining week leading up to the funeral and the day of wasn't any better. I had the honor of sitting with some of the family during the procession. The family really just wanted to know what Jim was like as an officer. They wanted to know what their loved one was like in life. The moment wasn't awkward and it felt good, like Jim was present.
I was proud to be a police officer and extremely proud to be a member of that department. The cohesiveness of that department shined on a difficult week and a difficult day. The community was amazing. Other agencies always come together during police funerals but you simply can't understand it unless you are present. Hundreds of agencies were involved. The community stood at the side of the road either saluting or holding flags. Definitely an emotional experience. Remember I was with the family so listening to the pride in them as they observed the response of the community was simply amazing.
I had experienced the day of. I experienced the week of. The week included a lots of sorrow and vigils and viewings and the funeral. The days following weren't easier because I still had to work the streets and the criminal element weren't easy to deal with as some loved to wallow in the death of an officer. We still had a job to do despite the emotions, the hurt, and the pain. I still could not have been more proud of the department I worked for during such a tragic time.
I learned a tremendous lesson on resilience. Tragedy unfortunately comes and tragedy will go. It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves, it's easy to give up, but we must always move on. I saw a great many tragedies and misfortune after this day and in the years to follow. I learned loyalty and that family is not always through blood. Everyone will feel pain in their life, even if it feels unbearable, resiliency is the one thing that moves us forward. Be resilient.
Always Safe, Always Vigilant