Sorrow and Friendship

We got the news yesterday that a friend, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty.  This is adult stuff and  both my husband and I  have been up all night in shock.

His wife has been my friend for exactly 10 years.  We met during the Y2K craze and L. was the only local person who was as crazed as I was about the possibilities.  I was, at that time, the National Coordinater of Y2K Women, or some such title, and for a full year we promoted bottled water and food supplies for families.  We had a lot of fun, no balance or perspective, and when Y2K didn’t happen, we were left with a lot of bugs in rice and beans. Something we didn’t eat anyway.

L’s husband was killed yesterday as he approached two suspicious cars on an isolated road in South Fulton county here in Ga.  They shot through the windshield and blasted out the back window and got Mike in the process.  He was able to reverse his patrol car and radio for help, give a description of the the vehicles that sped off, but he died after airlifting to Grady Hospital here in Atlanta.

Mike was a detective for 20 years, originally from Wisconsin.  He and L had 5 children, and they were both of very strong stock. L. and I used to laugh that our husbands were the stubborn way they were because we had married German Catholics.

They had to be strong, and sometimes I couldn’t fathom where they got their strength.  They lost two children, one their oldest daughter who died in childbirth.  They were raising the girl as their child, and you wouldn’t believe how much she looked like L.  They were a strong and loving family.

About 5 years ago they made a Xmas visit here.  I got to talk to Mike and he was a funny man.  Strong, sensible, intelligent, but deeply committed to his family and to his profession.  He told some stories that made me realize  police officers are always on duty and in the line of fire.  Especially detectives.

Over the past three years my contact with L. was constrained.  I was moving into writing and she was very religious.  I felt ‘pushed’ by the strength of her faith into a corner.  I just didn’t believe in God in the way she did and wanted me to experience.  She is a devote Christian, and it’s not her Christianity that was the problem.  I have a Jewish friend who is the same way:  she wants me to go to shul with her and I just can’t.  I don’t believe.  The more I was pushed by both friends, the more I felt….frantic.

Just three weeks ago L. and I had a bad quarrel. It was over a chain letter.  I hate those things, for many reasons, but I probably overstated the case to L.  She threw up that I had only been a friend on my terms over the last few years.  She was right.  I didn’t know how to handle her religious fevour and threw out the friendship because it made me uneasy.

Now all this seems so stupid and shallow.  She was a friend, and regardless how much I disagreed with her on religious issues, it was a friendship with a lot of substance over 10 years.  I did apologize but it was a slight gesture.  And now, nothing of any of this crap matters.

She matters.  Her family matters.  I have great sympathy because she has lost her husband and her life is again going to change in the most extreme ways possible.  I am  comforted now that her faith is as strong as it is.  It is hers.  And now perhaps I finally understand why she was so ‘strong’ in her faith.  She lost so much, and she has lost Mike now.

What I believe doesn’t matter in the face of this.  What she does is important because this will help her survive.

I wish I had been a better friend.  I wish many things, but I wish most that Mike wasn’t gone and L. and her family had him back.

Lady Nyo

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5 Responses to “Sorrow and Friendship”

  1. Sorrow and Friendship « Lady Nyo's Weblog » blog.lonelynot.org Says:

    […] The rest is here:  Sorrow and Friendship « Lady Nyo's Weblog […]

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  2. Margie Says:

    I feel so badly for your friend’s tragic loss. I’m sure she will find comfort in your strength, and in her faith in God. Fights and arguments fly out of the window in a time like this. It doesn’t matter anymore, if it ever really did. Thinking of you and your friend’s family.

    Much love.

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  3. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Margie….nothing matters like this.

    She’s the one who is strong, not me. She has already lost two children. I would sit on the floor talking to her by phone and just shake my head. She has suffered so much in her life, but she was so strong in ways I can’t even describe. When people describe a “tower of strength” that was her.

    Mike was a great guy….normal man in every way. So hard working and loved his children more than anything. Good German Catholic stock.

    Sent a card but what words are adequate? I don’t have them. But we will be there for her when she needs us…if she needs us. I am glad she has a large family. Both of Mike’s parents are still alive, too. How horrible for them.

    Knowing their children and seeing them speak for the family, has been really hard, Margie. I knew them when they were younger…10 years ago….and for them to have to face this in life now….

    Thank you for thinking of us, but pray for them. I can’t even focus enough through the sorrow and regret to address this.

    Love back.

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  4. Berowne Says:

    Sympathy to all involved, yourself included.

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  5. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Berowne. I’m actually doing better. I have a good support system of friends….local and far.

    I am much more concerned about the Vogt family as things come to light. This was an ambush…and because of circumstances….I would hope the family was secured.

    I am surprised at the amount of coverage in the media. It looks like this ‘story’ has a lot of legs…and far reaching.

    Lady Nyo

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