It’s probably no surprise to say that when an officer and a chaplain are working side by side it’s most likely not a happy event.
In my personal experience I have worked beside an amazing man who is the one who always showed up when something catastrophic transpired involving an officer or a child. He is the go-to debriefer. We have remarked that it’s not a good thing that we have to work together yet we are so very grateful we do.
That detective who became a colleague retired this past year. I’m so very happy for him. Now he is busier than ever but choosing his energy-spending vs. tragic loss and deeper issues choosing for him.
Over the years we have worked side by side I came to understand that much like so many experiences it takes “one” to know one. Some examples might be a breast cancer patient who tells their story to another; a leukemia patient who encourages a newly diagnosed one. There is also a bond between police offers that only an insider can truly sit beside another among tragedy and trauma.
My colleague and friend has given me many gifts of understanding over our tenure. Today I was hopefully able to pay that forward.
Today I was asked to see a retired police detective. He has cancer but that isn’t what’s on his mind. He is having serious issues with PTS reliving so many of the tragic losses he came upon before he retired. He also spoke of seeing every person no matter how “bad” as a person. He also told me about his own mentor when he was a newbie.
One of the radiation machines was being recalibrated this day. That unfortunately backed up the patient appointments.
Fortunately, an RN called me to meet this teary retired cop who after an hour gave me one of the highest compliments a chaplain could receive from a person in “blue”.
We shook hands firmly as he said, “I am so glad I talked with you today. Talking with you today was like talking to another cop.”
I am grateful to my colleague who I shall not name here to protect his identity however, to every officer whose heart sees the humanity in those who need a hand up and struggles with the consequences of extreme violence I am grateful.
Today I was blessed with the extreme and violent stories of a cop needing to tell. That may not make sense to you reading…… but it does to me.