End Of Watch

Two weeks ago I lost a coworker and a friend. His death was unexpected and left all of us trying to figure things out. One of the things done when an officer falls is an end of watch call. If you have never heard this done, I cannot express the pain and finality that comes with the silence of that final call. Follow that with a gun salute and presentation of colors to the family, and you are left exhausted, sad, and for me, reevaluating life. So often we get caught up in the to do list, the internal dialogue that tells us to keep busy, to do more, that other, more important things can wait until we’re done with our checklist. But what happens when you experience loss, an unexpected end of watch call, is that you are forced into stillness and silence. You have to stop. I left that moment with a determination to stop wasting my short and unpredictable life waiting for others to fulfill me, being frustrated with the things in my life that aren’t the way I’d hoped they would be, and to stop getting caught up in the drama of work, of life, and of other people’s messes. I don’t want to waste my life being angry, sad, and waiting for others to be part of the life I want to live. Losing a friend unexpectedly at a young age almost requires you to reevaluate what matters. To the best of my ability moving forward, I will forgive those who try to hurt me, who disappoint me and who are unable or unwilling to love. I choose to be happy, to be free of the weight of holding grudges and being angry and intolerant of others. I’m done feeling guilty for taking care of me, for slowing down and focusing on what matters, like my son, my marriage, and relationships. Which, really, in the grand scheme of things are the only things that actually matter. I will stop and rest and play and laugh, and if that means I don’t get my checklist completed, then I will be happy and my home messy, and I will be ok with that.

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