My Novels

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DH Tribute, Part II

The Decision

I wish I could say that I accepted DH's decision to enter law enforcement without reservation, but that was not the case. In fact, I was downright scared and unable to hide it.

In our late 20s, I began to recover from my medical problems, and started doing what I'd always wanted to do: write. I enrolled in journalism courses, completed those, then went through a creative writing course. I became obsessed with my writing, as writers often do.

My husband had grown tired of his electrician job, not to mention the long commute each day. When he was called to jury duty, the local sheriff approached him and asked if he'd be interested in becoming a reserve deputy. That was a volunteer position, which demanded only one evening a week as a ride-along with a sheriff's deputy, so I was agreeable. However, within a short time, it was evident my husband was becoming as obsessed with law enforcement as I was with writing.

He talked to me constantly about going to our local community college (again) and majoring in criminal justice; I wasn't so sure, but worse, I was scared to death. Remember, these were the days of "Starsky & Hutch" on TV, and regular shoot 'em up cop chases, frequent death and dismemberment of officers by vicious criminals. I began to get very worried, and discouraged this new "hobby."

Nothing could stop my husband's newfound passion for this field, and after many disagreements that sometimes led to shouting matches, he said he would give it up if it meant that much to me. I, on the other hand, realized that to ask he give this up would be tantamount to my giving up writing. And worse, he would always resent me for it.

We had discussed not having children before we married, and neither had changed our minds over the years. Additionally, my medical condition (though under control) would have made that very risky. In other words, we needed meaning and purpose other than having a family; mine was writing, his became law enforcement.

I learned to become supportive, but I won't deny I was always worried. When he had neared the completion of the two-year course, and was hired as a full time deputy, I was a wreck. I couldn't sleep when he was on the evening shift, the absolute worst time for domestic violence -- and every kind of violence. Sometimes he didn't get home till 3 AM, and to be honest, I came very near a nervous breakdown due to the stress and anxiety.

Shortly after being hired, he had to go through the Law Enforcement Academy and be away for six weeks; that was the first time we'd ever been apart for any length of time (other than my hospitalization) and when he returned, I believe we both realized that even though it would be a rough road ahead of us, we loved each other so much we would be supportive and endure in our marriage.

As for a specific memory of this time, he always told me about his work, from the first. I demanded that, because I never wanted him to have the added stress of keeping it inside, no one to share the bad times, as well as the good times. However, I didn't realize how he downplayed the danger until one day I saw our local newspaper (which I would later work for as a reporter/copy editor) and the picture on the front page of my husband rescuing a man who'd overturned on his tractor. My husband was teetering on the sharp edge of a cliff, one foot off the ledge, the other supported by a large flat rock. Yet he managed to save the man who was pinned beneath the rock. (Only later did I realize the lengths the newspaper photographer went to in order to capture this shot!)

Within a few years after his full-time employment, he became known for his willingness to do whatever it took to save lives, capture those who were breaking it, and enforce the law. But he also became a true friend to other officers, a motivating factor in their work, understanding their problems, and soon was promoted to Sergeant, then some time later, Lieutenant of the Patrol Division. There were more promotions through the years, and though he sometimes said that people approached him about running for Sheriff, it was never really a consideration.

He was a law enforcement officer, not a politician.

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