This was another wonderfully humanizing and comforting show. I found comfort and recognized the true humanity in Ms Braestrup's own admission of weakness, past and recurring, when she visited the wall that immortalizes her late husband along with the thousand other fallen law enforcement officers. On Jan 1, 2001, I lost the biggest cheerleader/support system I've EVER had, my uncle Greg, a TN State Highway Patrolman and talk about a helluva impact!!
I was not yet 30, but this time changed me forever! It felt like I slept through the worst nightmare ever for the next 5 or 6 years because of it. In an instance of heroism and simply doing what he loved - protecting his community - I'd lost my surrogate father just when I needed him most. I was about to be a divorced, single mother of a 1 yr old boy living in Washington, DC with NO family support and he'd prepared to drive later in the week from Nashville, TN to DC to move me into an apartment for the safety of myself and my son. We'd confirmed our plans on 31 Dec and the last thing out of his mouth was "You'll be fine, I promise. I love you." He never made it here, needless to say and I had to make his promise to me true in a vulnerable state of mind/body/spirit. I still have moments...lots of them, when the loss HITS me just like the impact of the drunk driver in the pick up that ended his life on the icy roads of Nashville on New Year's Day that year. And yes, I have no i dea sometimes how to deal with the grief. I do FEEL as if I'll lose my mind, but I think about him and realize that's NOT what he'd do. Today a fellow mourner made me FEEL better about HOW I FEEL about the loss and how I allow others to help me grieve.
To date, I'm the only family member who has NOT participated in the week-long activities for family members' of The Fallen though I've lived here since the family started attending in 2001. I don't go and the family has stopped asking me to go. So I've resigned myself to the solitary visits when I occasionally steal away from my own family and venture down to the memorial and honor him with a flower, or just sitting and being, or crying like a new born baby - audible with all of the torment that comes with that loss tied to times when I WANT him here with me. Sometimes when I visit it, I'm comforted in knowing that the others visiting, are my kindred living through their own pain or as she put it celebrating the life that their loved one lived kind of in spite of how they died.
Thank you Minister Braestrup, for sharing and confirming for me that I'm not alone.
Thank you Krista Tippett and staff of On Being for this show in particular.
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