Tragedy and it’s Counterparts

Helplessness & Guilt

 

Another life was taken yesterday.  A beautiful, happy, full-of-life, caring son, brother, husband, dad, friend and many other titles. We all will succumb to the end of life at some point.  Who wants to talk about that, anyway?  I do. This is how I cope.

 

The two biggest emotions myself and people I know feel after tragedy is helplessness & guilt.

 

I have been on the other side of the door, when terrible news was waiting to rear its ugly head on the other side.  That happened, what will be soon, 7 years ago.  The degree of pain felt in that moment and the days and weeks after, is excruciating.

 

All I could think was, “I want to be with Kyle.”  I couldn’t stand another moment on this earth.  Nothing else mattered. Losing your husband is taking away your future too. Seeing mundane facebook posts and other peoples “normal” conversations made my head spin.

 

When the excruciating pain is caused because of negligence and/or purposeful intent to cause harm to another human, the anger is so intense that it becomes debilitating.

 

This word, debilitating, is the only word I can use to describe a tragic moment.  A law enforcement widow.  Sobbing because her body can’t put together how she feels into words. It’s impossible. Making decisions she never though SHE would have to make.

 

The friends and fellow officers lined the hallways amongst a heartbroken family.  The love was there.  The pain was still too great to trump that support. Time will lessen the stabbing pain of grief, but you still walk around with that dagger in your heart for the rest of your life.  As time passes, this significantly life-changing, span of hours will become a blur.

 

Any person who remotely knows the Hopkins Family would have done anything to take away this their pain.  That is the feeling of helplessness and guilt, from all of those around, that is so hard to shed.

 

As I wake up this morning, my first thought is about MY first morning waking up, knowing that my husband is never coming home.  It is a nauseating and almost surreal feeling.  I just kept closing my eyes, wanting to go back to sleep, and hoping I can wake up from this horrible nightmare.  I keep asking myself, “Did that really just happen? Please, God, give me another chance at yesterday so I can save him.”.

 

The reason for writing this is to, not only, express my own feelings, but truly to educate others.  I want to know the secrets of life.  I always want to know what NOT to do.  Advice from people who have been there, done that, to me, is priceless.  Maybe someone will read my words and have a little more understanding, hope, and compassion.

 

Be kind. Be patient. Be THERE but most importantly, be there later…

 

Be there after the food has been eaten.

 

Be there after the flowers have died.

 

Be there after the phone has slowed its ringing and texts have stopped.

 

Be there after the headstone is placed.

 

Be there when her husband should have been, but can’t.

 

Every moment of every day, a new widow is consumed by emotions she didn’t even know existed.

 

Say their name.  Talk as if he is still here. No, that’s not weird, because when someone is loved as much as him and my husband were, it is as if they ARE still here. Have humor—especially if there is something that would have been joked about if the loved one was still present. The family is just craving the feeling of “normal”.

 

In memory of one of the biggest smiles and personalities I have ever met. I hope someone reads this that will help his wife and family survive this terminal grief.  Whitney–It’s the beginning of a long road, and I’ll be here as much or as little as you need.

Sarah

PS:  Say a prayer for my friend Dan and his wife Megan.  Dan was one of Kyle’s best friends and now Dan has lost another one of his close friends. Lightening doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but it unfortunately has for him.

12 thoughts on “Tragedy and it’s Counterparts

  1. Darlene Hammond says:

    So beautifully written. And as a widow…not law enforcement but a magical life taken from cancer at 48 yo…..the part about be there later is so very important. Be there 2 months, 4, 6, 8, 12 months later. That is when others have gone back to their normal and we continue to look for ours. Thank you for sharing and hugs to you. 💖🤗🦋

  2. Jane Kluge says:

    Sarah,
    My father was ISP & was shot when I was 15. He was one of the lucky ones. Every time I hear of another ISP fatality or injury my mind goes back to the call in the middle of the night & my uncontrollable shaking. My heart truly breaks for each & everyone. My dad’s badge # was 207. Prayers for all❤️

  3. Lisa huebner says:

    Well said! I lost my daughter in a tragic car accident 8 years ago. Your grief in losing your husband mirrors mine in losing Mikayla. Bottom line they are not coming home. My heart is broken for Nick’s family and friends. May God bring them peace and comfort.

  4. J.R. Oliver says:

    🙏🏻😢a member of ISP family☹️Your words are well put and for all of us to be there in deed not just words as time goes by 😞🙏🏻❤️

  5. Mary Sue Clark says:

    This is so beautifully written, and so accurate! We pick up eventually, and go on with life, but those we have lost are always with us in our hearts. They have been a big part of making us the person we are today.

  6. Bronson says:

    Losing anyone is tough. Losing a friend like this the way we lose our friends in law enforcement is even tougher. I called Sarah after losing a close friend in law enforcement a year ago, I was lucky to have her as a resource. Knowing her through the years, as I had,, she shared these same words with me. Thanks for all you do and share. 🖤💙🖤

  7. Gayle says:

    My heart is breaking… as a Deputy’s wife from Montgomery County , Illinois this is the worst nightmare that I pray I never have to endure.. My husband has been an Officer for nearly 21 years.. I knew Trooper Deatherage personally.. I work in the States Attorneys Office in Montgomery County.. he was a joy and he loves his family so much.. I always felt like I knew Sarah and the kids and had never met them until his funeral ohhh and he LOVED vacation… I didnt know Trooper Hopkins but had seen his name a few times but it doesn’t matter. We are all Leo’s and we are family. Praying for this family and Sarah I pray for you and think of you constantly

  8. Gayle says:

    My heart is breaking… as a Deputy’s wife from Montgomery County , Illinois this is the worst nightmare that I pray I never have to endure.. My husband has been an Officer for nearly 21 years.. I knew Trooper Deatherage personally.. I work in the States Attorneys Office in Montgomery County.. he was a joy and he loves his family so much.. I always felt like I knew Sarah and the kids and had never met them until his funeral ohhh and he LOVED vacation… I didnt know Trooper Hopkins but had seen his name a few times but it doesn’t matter. We are all Leo’s and we are family. Praying for this family and Sarah I pray for you and think of you constantly

  9. Arlene Trahan says:

    Beautifully put. Yes so true all widows need help afterwards six months plus down the line. I didn’t know him but have heard so many awesome things about him. Prayers for the family and wish I could do something anytime to help

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