Monday, December 6, 2010

Yet another new first. . . .

I wanted to write something funny, something entertaining, maybe even something educational. I have even put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, in an attempt to write out what has been going on in a way that would, you know, not suck. The 13 pages of words I have saved in a folder called “BAD DON’T POST!” Do not do my thoughts justice.

This past week T-rex saw his first dead body. There it is said it is out there! But as it is his first dead body it is my first time being the support. And in many ways I feel like I get the short end of the stick here. He is now “one of the guys” well more “one of the guys”. In many ways it is just one more thing that they guys deal with that makes them more of a secret club. It is one more thing that they hold in common, that they can all relate too. It does nothing but furthers my alienation from society. (As if being married to a cop was not bad enough!)

He has a team of people telling him what might happen to him, how to deal with it, and what things to look out for. I have my little self-help books and sociology background. Mostly I am alone. Even other police wives have little advice other than to follow his lead, don’t push him to talk about it, listen when he wants to talk. I am new to this too. And I am sure that the changes this will bring in my life are nothing compared to what T-rex is going to have to deal with, there still are changes in my life because of this. I am now here to deal with whatever fall out there maybe.

Truth be told, I think that T-rex is going to deal with things very well, all things considered. This was not just a normal looking body, but as I have gathered one that was not in a state for an open casket or anything. I am sure that has to take some toll on him. I am grateful I have not had to see this. But then again T-rex is a fan of the gory movies, and I think in part he has desensitized himself to gore and death. And although he says the smell might get to him I think his gas has prepared him for that too! But there is no real training a wife can take to prepare herself for the changes a husband goes through when being a cop. Everything has changed, and keeps changing. I worry sometimes that he will become cynical like so many do, or that he will see the world as full of cops and criminals. I have hope that he will not, I know that he is a strong caring man, and that he understands that there is good in the world, but it is getting harder and harder to see.

The day after dealing with the dead body T-rex had to work a petty property damage case. He was conflicted, or at least sounded that way, and as any wife would tell you what a man says and feels are not always what a woman hears and thinks. But he made a note of saying that it was dumb, this guy could replace the property for under $20.00 and yet was all upset about it. T-rex could not find the empathy when all he could think about was how quick life could end. On the good side he did say he found greater joy in the small things like Rae coming down to sleep with him (even if she was to get him up) the hugs of a 5 year old brought a great big smile to his face. I guess that is good for we all often forget how quick life can change.

For me I just sit back and hope to not see any signs of stress from T-rex. I hope that he does not get angry, or gain what I call the “Jerk disorder.” There are a million books out there that will tell me how this might affect him, but none can really say how this might affect me. I know now and for the rest of my life that my husband has had to see something that I would not be able to handle. And not only has he had to see it but he has had to come home to his family and children and not be able to talk much about it, has had to deal with it on his own, and has to get up and keep going each day. I can do nothing but worry how this will affect him later in life. I cannot help the new worry.

So it’s not funny, entertaining, or even really educational. But it is what I am dealing with right now. It is what is going on with the cop’s wife. In many ways it is why this blog is here. I don’t want other wives to go around thinking it’s odd that they are upset their husband had to deal with something nasty. I am affected by some of the things that go on at his work. He does not try to bring it home, but if it is going to have an effect on him it will have an effect on me.


Charlene said...

Wow, so sorry you and T-rex are going through that. It is hard the first time, my husband has nightmares (actually still does from time to time). When he was working at the super max prison he would occasionally come across someone who decided to hang themselves. It sounded scary and horrifying. Even though I didn't want to hear about it, I knew I had to so that he could get it all off his chest.

Now that I work in a nursing home, I see dead people all the time, not in the same scary circumstances, but it's still a little surreal, know what I mean.

Good Luck to you and him and I hope and pray that he continues to handle it well!

Meadowlark said...

Husband's first dead body was an old guy who had a heart attack and collapsed dead again a roaring woodstove. Bizarre and an odor one would think her husband would never forget. He has.

I have a zillion words to share, but I'll make it brief and then post something in a few days.

STOP what you're doing. STOP making him into an amazing hero who has to deal with terrible stuff. STOP watching his every move to see how he's handling it. Just stop. It doesn't mean he's not any of those things, it just means that by constantly watching for change, you are part of the system that causes the change.

Let it go. A doctor has the first person who dies under his hands. A lawyer has the first person who goes to prison because of him. A garbage man has the first person who stigmatizes him because of his job. We like to make our officers all amazing and cool and special and "secret club-y" and we encourage that mindset with our concerns. Then we wonder why they "change". We treat them differently, that's a part of it.

He'll see tons of dead bodies. He'll see abuse victims. He'll change. BIG DEAL. He would change in any other job. As a Dr. he might see that people are a bunch of whiny hypochondriacs. As a psychotherapist he might hear things that make his hair curl. It is what it is. You CANNOT be the "wall" that separates him from himself. How healthy can THAT be?

You are not in that club. You are in OUR club. We learn that they deal with that stuff because it's THEIR chosen profession, not ours. We're along for the ride, but we do not have to be enablers, allowing them to be "special" because their job is so hard.

Watching him like a hawk will eventually make him avoid you and close those things off so you don't get all freaked out about it. Let nature take it's course. Hold him accountable to treat you like an equal. His job is hard, yes. So is parenting children all day long and yet do you ever see an officer saying "oh, my wife really needs to vent because she had her hands in dirty diapers and bickering all day"? Be very careful about treating him as "special", above and beyond what we all do for our husbands. The sense of separateness is a dual-edged sword and can easily lead to distance and change, when we want it to show that we're understanding and caring.

OK... none of this made sense, so I'll pray for you guys. It's the best I can offer from here.


Pam Landy said...

First, I love your writing, no matter what the topic is. You always make things relateable in a fresh way, and yours is one of my favorites to read.

I so hear you on this. JB grew up on the scary movies, but he's only seen photos of any really bad bodies yet. The others have been little grandmothers who have passed in their sleep. But I worry every day about whether his personality will change for the worse from this unique, brave, nutty, difficult job he has. Does T-Rex socialize with any civilian guys? I've heard that can help maintain perspective, ie avoiding the whole "anyone w/o a badge is a clueless moron" syndrome.

Big hugs!

Pam Landy said...

Also, Meadow: you are basically awesome. I like that ^^ advice too:)

Meadowlark said...

Pam, I was just going to email you and ask if I should delete it. If it came across as too b*tchy. :) Which totally wasn't my intent.

Mrs Deputy said...

Meadow. I dont think that sounds too bitchy. Its right on and perfect wording.

Yellow- Huge hugs to you. with Mr D being 12yrs in nothing effects him anymore it seems like. His first DB was a child about 3 that drowned so he had horrible nightmares etc for a while.

Yellow said...

Meadow~ I don't really know how to respond. No I don't think what you were saying was B^tchy, I get it, I really do. And you are right wives will force the "change" in their husbands if they are always looking for it, and analyzing everything. I just don't think I have done that to T-rex. I do worry about the changes of the job, I have seen them first hand with people very close to me. There is a part of me that will wonder, I can't get in his brain, and although most of the time that is a very good thing sometimes it makes things hard (and I am sure he will say the same about me LOL). I agree that he is not some super hero! He is just doing his job, but this job has a strange effect on people. To act like nothing is wrong or that nothing will change is crazy.
And although most of the changes will be no big deal, life changes, we all change, some of the changes can be too much for a family to take, and going into this knowing that is one of the few things that I can do to make sure that we make it to the other side.
I didn't mean to make it sound like I am going to watch his every move and ohh poor T-rex! But it is something that he and I am going to deal with at least a little, and as another new first this one has been the most . . . disturbing?

I don't know if I am saying everything right here, I just want you to know that Its not that bad, and that what you said wasn't mean or anything :)

All the other gals~ Thanks it is good to know that I am not alone in this. I think Meadow said it best I am not in their club, I am in OUR club. :)

Meadowlark said...

Thanks Yellow, I was afraid it came out wrong, and I really didn't want it to.

I do want to say something that will probably draw fire: husband investigates computer crime, and this includes images that are beyond disturbing. It is NOT MY JOB and I AM NOT QUALIFIED to be his sounding board for those issues. He has other officers who deal with the same types of crimes, as well as access to professionals. I KNOW that I am not equipped to hear the things he has to deal with in these cases, and it is IMPERATIVE that I protect myself from the mental images I would create and the anguish at the thought of these tiny angels being subjected to these grotesqueries. I understand that we want to SUPPORT our guy, but we simply CANNOT and SHOULD NOT BE the place he turns to. Make sure he has a strong officer support system and that he can come to you for everything else, but I can tell you honestly that when they deal with it every single day, for us to be the place where they "wipe off the nasty crud" is a dangerous position to choose. Please protect yourselves in this case.

OK, soapbox put away, keyboard locked away, I'm completely done. Sorry for the hijack.

Anonymous said...

This was a good post dear! I know you saw those changes take place in your father, and althought T-rex is a lot like your father (A LOT), it doesn't mean these changes will happen to him. I never glorified your father's job or worried about it to the extent you do....but then again, I was naive to what types of things people in law enforcement go through.

Good post!

Yellow said...


I agree with you 110%! There are things that T-rex has already been told to NOT tell me about at ALL! There are things he is going to have to deal with on his own, or with the guys at work. Not only is the "stuff" to much for me to deal with but knowing he has dealt with it will bother me. We are still new to the road so everything is new! And because of that some of the stuff comes home. But over all I do think T-rex does a good job at keeping work at work. MOST of the time.

Mom (aka unknown) I think the ONE big difference in T-rex and dad is the fact that I know what this job can do, having seen it and studied it gives me a chance to see it and get help before it gets really bad. I know I cannot change T-rex but I can change how I deal with him :).

I also don't want it to sound like I go around all day worried about him. There are times, it is true, where I worry. And I don't hide that worry. I deal with things by kicking em into the ground a few times. Over all I know he is safe, in mind and body. But to ignore the things that can cause harm would be well. .dumb.