July 4, 2011 at Church picnic
For the many of you that will read this blog, I will need to start at the beginning, when the day came that turned our lives upside down. On July 26, 2012 at 3:00am, I was awakened by my doorbell ringing, and if you have ever heard your doorbell ring at that time of the morning and you are home alone, it is eerie. So as any other wife would do, I picked up my phone and called my husband, who was working night shift as a patrol deputy sheriff, call went to his voicemail. So still scared to death, I called his partner Preston, again no answer. Believe it or not I proceed to call his Sargent and his Lieutenant, again no answer. So since no one could help me I decided to get up and look out the bathroom window to see if I could see any cars in the driveway, and sure enough there were, what looked like a million. I ran to the door and flung it open and saw that the cars just weren’t just any cars, they were my husband’s Captain, Sheriff, and co-workers. I saw William’s (my husband) best friend Aaron in the driveway and screamed his name. He came running to me and hugged me tight and told me that William had been shot. What?? My husband has been shot?? I was thinking in my head and wanting to be by his side as soon as possible. Then William’s Captain and Sheriff came up on the porch and I asked, in tears, if he was ok. They replied NO. The first of the answers to knock me out of myself. They proceed to tell me that he was on a call that morning with his partner, Preston, and a man came out with a gun and refused to put it down. As they fired, so did the suspect and hit my husband in the face; Killing him instantly.
I was nonexistent at that point. Crying, mind going a hundred miles an hour, sick on my stomach; but all I could think about was the baby that I was carrying, that was due in just 4 weeks, would never meet his daddy. And I was going to be a single mother and live the rest of my life without my best friend. After I got it together enough to head to the hospital and my parents had arrived, we headed that way. The whole way there my friend Amanda held me as I cried and just said that there was no way that I could do this or any of this be true. The Sheriff and the Captain were on their way to go tell his mother and father. His brother was on vacation at this time and it took us a little while to reach him.
As we arrived at the hospital there were SBI agents there and other Law Enforcement, doing their investigation, that I knew was protocol The doctor that took care of him when he arrived in the er talked with me and assured me that it was instant. Other people started showing up. Other officers and their families, friends and family of mine, and doctors from the ob office that I worked for so that they could be there to support me and care for me and my baby boy. As my MIL arrived I remember being in the bathroom just sobbing and telling Amanda that I just couldn’t do this. I could not face what had just happened and I never wanted to leave that bathroom. We all gathered in a small waiting room in the er and were waiting to see if there was even a remote possibility that they would allow us to see William. When they told us that we were not allowed to here at the hospital I was devastated again. I wanted to hold my husband’s hand, wanted to make sure that it was really him, and wanted to kiss him goodbye. I did get to tell him goodbye and how much I loved him, but it had to come later at the funeral home.
We went to view the body and I had told any of the guys that were pall bearers, that they could come with me. I had Preston and Aaron go in with me for the first time to view his body. I had him dressed in his dress uniform and they had done a great job getting everything fixed just right. He looked so handsome. I could tell every feature of his face and hands, where he had been hit, was different. It hurt my heart to know how much they had to reconstruct and that this had truly happened to my husband, the love of my life and the father of our son. Of course, I was overcome with tears and sorrow. I sat and watched all the guys come in and see him and see their eyes well up with tears. It was so hard to even fathom that we were even here doing this. I never imagined at 26 years old that I would be burying my husband.
The viewing was so large and it all seems like such a big blur to me. I felt like I had and out of body experience. I was watching all of this happen and doing all I could do to stay with it, but I was not truly there. God truly gave me the Grace that I needed to get through this night, past and future. So many people came to honor my husband and pay their respects to our family. LEO’s from across the county came and survivors of past fallen officers and so many more. It truly was amazing at the support we had. We had gotten through the night, and yes I was still pregnant, and here came the hardest part for me. When I had to finally and forever say goodbye to my husband’s earthly body. That was the hardest thing I had had to do yet. I cried all night long that night and just could not get it together for a long while. And I say now that it was what I needed to do. I had to let it out. I was hurting so badly that my heart was in so many pieces, only God could put them back together with time. Sleep was nonexistent.
The funeral: It was beautiful and bittersweet. William was brought to the front of the church by a horse drawn carriage. And if you knew William that mint more than just met the eye. Me and his Captain followed behind with his parents and brother behind me. As we entered the church the music of the hymns were brought to life by the many people inside the church. William’s friend Chris (a state trooper) spoke first, then his Sergeant Andrew, then his Captain Kelly, and then the Sheriff. After all these great men spoke we had the children’s choir at our home church sing. I was like Heaven had sent angels down into those children. It was beautiful. As the choir finished the two men best fitted to share the gospel and remember William came to the pulpit. They did an excellent job with both. Pastor Derek Wilson read a love letter that William had sent to me sometime after we were engaged. It was so personal, but I found it in a bunch of pictures and the words were just perfect for what I needed to here and to tell others about how wonderful a love we had for each other and Christ. We went to the cemetery and there was a huge procession made for William and us all the way through Boone. People held signs that said “William is my hero.” People lined the roads to pay their respects. It was so touching again that so many people would care enough to stand there and pay their respects to my husband, who died protecting a woman and her two kids from their father. We had a nice service at the cemetery and proceed back to the church for a meal.
When the next day hit, when the sun rose again, that was the start of my new strange life.
Baby Shower in May of 2012