Today, I had to let go of two very close friends.
All because I am married to a cop.
A good cop.
My husband will tell you he became a cop because of silly little things, like providing for his family.
But this is far from the truth.
My husband became a cop because he knew he could help people in a way that no other job would let him. He could help those who didn’t have the resources, didn’t have the time or money. He could help people who were not capable of defending themselves against criminals, from those who intended to cause harm to others.
My husband decided to become a police officer, to go to the academy, instead of becoming a teacher, because he was called to this career.
And still, these women, these adult “woke” women, completely pushed me out of their lives because of my husband’s calling.
My husband, whose has only been given a formal write-up because he said the “fuck” while being kicked by a guy high on PCP. My husband, who works so hard to serve and protect the city he loves. My husband, the most patient and kind man you will ever meet.
Two women decided I am not worth the friendship because of the job my husband has been called to. The good work he does every day. Because they don't like police. Because they think "ACAB".
Please excuse my language, but this shit FUCKING SUCKS.
This life on the blue line is truly a calling. This is not meant for the feint of heart.
God created me to serve as the wife of a LEO. There is no doubt about it. My understanding of the first responder life on children helps me to better meet the emotional and situational needs of my children. Recognizing the trauma-related symptoms of my husband when he is dealing with a bad few calls makes it so I can be there for my husband in a way he needs me to be.
There is no doubt in my mind that this career was part of God’s plan for my life.
Here I am. Again.
My family, being vilified, because of what the media and politicians are saying.
People telling me they want nothing to do with me because I am related to a person who is called to this career with ridiculous and unrealistic expectations from society (aka people who would never be able to do this job). A person who is willing to risk their own life for the lives of strangers. A person who believes in the concept of service above self. No matter the cost.
I recently wrote about being mad at God because of the ways God disrupted my world with COVID-19. And here I am, with the same emotions, with the same confusion, the same pain, asking God why?
Telling God how much His plan is confusing me.
To lose the friendships of people I loved and admired. To lose relationships with people who meant so much to me.
Once again, I am hated, hated for loving the human behind the badge.
After Ferguson, this happened in a similar way.
I had posted on Facebook how being the daughter of a cop was not an easy role to play. The post was a video of a girl sharing a letter on how the blue line impacts more than just the officer.
And guess what happened next? People began to make it about themselves. People not in the blue family.
They shared how their lives were more challenging. How their lives were even harder to live.
Who was suffering more? Who was hurt more? Who was scared more? Who had a better reason to be terrified every day? Who couldn’t handle the stress as much as the other? Who was more at fault for their own suffering?
It became a competition of whose suffering was more “justified” or “worse”. Who had a bigger slice of the “my life sucks” pie.
What in the world????
Life sucks, people. It truly, sincerely, genuinely sucks. Everywhere. Everyday.
And yet, it doesn’t have to end here.
God created us blue line folks for something far greater and far more incredible than we can imagine.
The more I talk with first responders, the more I am convinced that these careers, from law enforcement to fire services to dispatch, this is a calling, not just a paycheck.
This was true with my dad. This is true with my husband. It is true with every responder I talk to.
There is a part of you, deep down, that knows this life better than any other possible choice it could create. This part of you knows that you can’t live any other life. This part knows how much this life means to you.
Do. Not. Give. Up.
Let me be clear. I do NOT mean tough it out at your job when the department or politicians in the city you or your spouse works for are putting your life or the life of your family in jeopardy. (And yes, financial jeopardy because of a lack of protection counts!)
What I mean is to not give up on your calling.
You are called to make a difference. God has a plan for your commitment, your drive, your passion. He wants it to be used for good, to make this world a better place.
Don't give up on making a difference.
Maybe it is through a different assignment. Or a different position in the department. Maybe it is through moving into politics and working change from there. Maybe it is through creating your own organization or agency to support the mental health of other first responders who are struggling. Maybe it is through creating a spouse’s support group to lean on each other when the world hates the one you love most.
And as you work towards the calling you still have, you will find yourself connecting with people who see you and support your potential. People who appreciate the work you do, and the good you have done in this world.
And you will keep doing good. You will find yourself wanting to do more. Because deep down, you find meaning in the work you do, and it feels your soul.
Whatever that is, know that you are supported. You are cared for and loved by people who matter.
Be intentional about surrounding yourself with these people.
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Take care, friends!
Alisha Sweyd, LMFT