Friday, December 24, 2010

All Of Us At Dekalb Officers Speak, Wish Each And Every One Of You A Very Merry Christmas!

When I first joined the police department, I knew there would be special occasions my family would spend without me. Knowing that fact didn’t make the task any easier. The celebrations I missed those first years depressed me and sometimes made me feel bitter. Working on Christmas Eve was always the worst.

Once on a particular Christmas Eve, I learned that blessings can come disguised as misfortune, and honor is more that just a word.

I was working a beat on the 3 PM to 11 PM shift. The night was cold. Everywhere I looked, I saw reminders of the holiday. Families packing their cars with presents, beautifully decorated trees in living room windows and roofs adorned with tiny sleighs. All added to my holiday funk.

The evening had been relatively quiet; there were calls for barking dogs and a residential false burglar alarm or two. There was nothing to make the night pass any quicker. I thought of my own family and sunk further into depression.

Shortly after 22:00 I got a call to respond to the home of an elderly, terminally ill man, trouble unknown. I parked my patrol car in front of a simple Cape Cod style home. I walked up the short path to the front door. As I approached, a woman who seemed to be about 80 years old opened the door. “He’s in here” she said, leading me to a back bedroom.

We passed through a living room that was furnished in a style I come to associate with older people. The sofa had an afghan blanket draped over its back and a dark, solid Queen Anne chair next to an unused fireplace. The mantle was cluttered with an eccentric mix of several photos, some ceramic figurines and an antique clock. A floor lamp provided soft lighting.

We entered the small bedroom where a frail looking man lay in bed with a blanket pulled up to his chin. He wore a blank stare on his ashen, skeletal face. His breathing was shallow and labored. He was barely alive.

The trappings of illness all around his bed, the nightstand was littered with a large number of pill vials. An oxygen bottle stood nearby. Its plastic hose with face mask attached rested on the blanket.

I asked the old woman why she called the police. She simply shrugged and nodded sadly toward her husband, indicating it was his request. I looked at him and he stared intently into my eyes. He seemed relaxed now. I didn’t understand the suddenly calm expression on his face.

I looked around the room again. A dresser stood along the wall to the left of the bed. On it was the usual memorabilia: ornate perfume bottles, white porcelain pin case, and a wooden jewelry case. There were also several photos in simple frames. One caught my eye and I walked closer to the dresser for a closer look. The picture showed a young man dressed in a police uniform. It was unmistakably a photo of the man in bed. I knew then why I was there.

I looked at the old man and he motioned with his hand toward the side of the bed. I walked over and stood beside him. He slid a thin arm from under the covers and took my hand. Soon, I felt his hand go limp, I looked at his face. There was no fear there. I saw only peace.

He knew he was dying; he was aware his time was very near. I know now that he was afraid of what was about to happen and he wanted the protection of a fellow cop on his journey. A caring God had seen to it that His child would be delivered safely to him. The honor of being his escort fell to me.

When I left at the end of my tour of duty that night, the temperature had seemed to have risen considerably, and all the holiday displays I saw on the way home made me smile.

I no longer feel sorry for myself for having to work on Christmas Eve. I have chosen an honorable profession. I pray that when it’s, my turn to leave this world, there will be a cop there to hold my hand and remind me that I have nothing to fear.

We wish all our brothers and sisters who have to work this Christmas Eve all the Joy and warmth of the Season.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting the reason for the season into perspective. You have shown again that it is better to give than to receive. You gave this man peace of mind and retention of his dignity to the end. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

The honor of our chosen profession is all we have now days. Remember when you were a child and you would see a police officer and you were fascinated. Hold on to that during these times we are in. The politicians don't have these memories and want to break our balls for everything. In many cases we are the last line of defense or the comfort needed by a fellow man. As you patrol tonight think of these memories. Be safe and screw these bastards trying to steal from us. Merry Christmas to each and all and maybe changes will come about. I work and live in DeKalb so I know both ends. Don't get frustrated on the calls that you know are just someone who was lonely. They have no one else, Mr. Ellis does not take calls after business hours!

Anonymous said...

Wow this inspire to be a police officer! I really want to work for Dekalb County Police I turn 20 in 4months

liveapartmentfire.com said...

Wow. Merry Christmas to you and your readers.

CLARK GRISWOLD said...

The most enduring traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. This tree is a symbol of the spirit of the Griswold family Christmas........

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful story. My sincerest best wishes for a Merry Christmas and happy and safe New Year to all of the officers that protect us.

PatsQB said...

Merry Christmas to all the men and women working tonight and tomorrow. Thank you for sacrificing time with your family so I can be safe with mine.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you too and thanks for all you do !

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate all of the officers and detectives that have to work the holiday's. Merry and SAFE Christmas to you officers and your family's. God will reward you for what you do for the public.

Anonymous said...

There are still some of us left who teach our children and grandchildren that indeed the policeman is your friend. We teach them to respect you, their teachers and all adults and to respect authority. I know there aren't many of us left but we do still exist. I have a son who is a police officer in Ohio also. God bless each of you and your families.

Anonymous said...

That story always brings a tear to my eye. May we all be blessed to die in our own beds and not on the street.
Be blessed and stay safe my Brothers and Sisters.
Merry Christmas!

AllMyLife said...

I adore this story. Whomever this police officer is, he will get a standing ovation from me.

Dan said...

Thank you for sharing that. I know that routine call turned into a lifelong memory. Very good memory that will stay with you forever. Good Job being there for the couple. Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I - like anonymous number 3 also aspire to be a police officer. I turned 22 last month, and pending on the approval of a 2011 academy - wish to come on with DeKalb also.

Writer - My friend - I can honestly say that I fought hard and held back a tear. My throat is just now recovering.

Writer - you are very well spoken and use plenty of details in your writing. Your thoughts are very easy to read and I enjoy reading your posts.

Be safe saints

Anonymous said...

I am just a mother who has lost my job and my children did not expect anything for Christmas. But I just want to thank Officer Jefferson, Officer West and the 92nd Academy for making it possible for my children to have a christmas

LoFlyer said...

A late Merry Christmas to all. I was out of town and had about 5 inches of snow.
I would especially like to thank all that were on duty yesterday. From the cops like y'all unsnarling the traffic accidents to the DOT drivers sanding the roads and bridges and to my on-call but unpaid and unappreciated co-workers that probably had to spend some unplanned holiday time away from their families.
All of y'all make a huge difference when the weather goes to hell and you never get any recognition.

Many thanks! KenC

Anonymous said...

Very nice - thank you. To the 20something future officers, are you new to this blog? My fellow officers, be safe and enjoy your holidays.

Marsha Fuller said...

Beautiful and wonderful story which reminds me of all the seemingly "small" moments we have the opportunity to share our lives with others.