the mourning band

The sight of this band causes a visceral reaction each and every time I see it.

It’s just a few inches of fabric. It weighs practically nothing, could easily get misplaced in the house or the car, and thankfully doesn’t see the light of day all that often.

But each time I see it out, I feel my stomach drop. My heartbeat quickens, and my eyes start to get prickly. My breathing gets shorter, and my soul feels like it weighs 500 pounds.

I look at it and the badge it envelopes. The badge that sits proudly on the chest of my officer. My husband. My best friend. My other half and right hand man since before I could even drive. And I think about the badge that no longer rests on the chest of the officer that band represents. I think about their family, missing their daddy or their soulmate or their baby girl. I think about their house, sitting solemn, abuzz with the murmur of mourners and dropped off casseroles. I think about those on their department, numbly driving the streets where their brother just got shot. I think about their chief, making decisions and schedules and running a station while remembering the knock he just had to make on a new widow’s door. I think about their community, going on with daily life but seeing and feeling a gaping hole where that officer’s presence should be. I think about the future and all of the events that will be so sorely missed-the graduations and weddings and first steps and growing old together.

It shouldn’t be like this. That band shouldn’t be here. There shouldn’t have to be a funeral next week, and the one after that, and the one after that. There shouldn’t be a wave of broken hearts as news spreads about another devastating loss.

But it is like this, and that band is here. Because we have wonderfully and fearfully created humans who have answered their call to serve their communities. Because we have servant hearted souls who are selfless and brave and put on their blues each day to face a dark and broken world, knowing it might be their last. Because we have spouses who kiss their officers and send them out the door, not knowing if they’ll ever walk back through it.

The next time you see an officer, thank them. The next time you come across an anti-law enforcement acquaintance, read them this. The next time you see a blue family member, say a prayer. They are doing what most people won’t and are paying a price most consider too high 💙

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