The other night Officer Hottie attended the wake of one of his coworkers wives. She was young, they have two teenage children, it was sudden (although not unexpected) ... all of those horrible things that eat away at me when someone passes away. There is little comfort in death, except the Hope we have in Heaven, and I truly am hopeful that Pam* is there.
I only met her once, and based on that one meeting I really really liked her. It was just weeks after OH started with the department and one of the officers was transferring to another city so his sergeant, Pete*, was throwing a goodbye bbq. Since OH had only been there a short time, and since the officer leaving was the one who had encouraged OH to apply there, we really wanted to go. We showed up to this gorgeous immaculate home with our three children and a six pack. We were the only ones who came with children. Not even Pete and Pam's children were there. Our piddly little six pack was added to the cases everyone else had brought. I was mortified and felt totally out of place. And Pam gushed over our children. She held our daughter, who was only 5 months or so at the time, she got me a towel so I could wipe up spit up, she sent Pete to the attic to retrieve boxes of toys their children had long forgotten about, she turned on Nickelodeon, she dug through the fridge to find hot dogs ... she was so gracious and made me feel comfortable and right at home. When we had to leave because our children were melting down (which she insisted was OK and didn't bother anyone), she helped us find shoes and invited us to come back. Pam was the kind of hostess that I hope I am.
When Hottie called me on his way home from the wake he said, with great affection, "I treasure you." When he arrived home he kissed me a little bit more and a little bit longer than usual. When we finally climbed into bed he said to me, "Don't leave me." I realized he was feeling the same feelings I've been having since Officer Brenton was killed. He was experiencing that mixture of terror, sorrow and pride. No one likes to have death hit so close to home, and watching his friend grieve his beloved was a difficult experience.
I wish Pam were still here and Pete and his children did not have to walk through this terrible time. I am thankful I was given the opportunity to meet her, if only once, and experience her kindness. I don't think she could ever have understood how opening her home to my family the way she did could instill such gratitude and thankfulness in a young insecure mom. She will most definitely be missed.
*Not their real names
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