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Corvallis, OR, United States
My personal obsession with prion diseases with smidges of music I like and rescue dog advocacy from a disabled Oregonian.



November 3, 1971, I was sitting on the living room floor watching The Electric Company. I heard my Mom on the phone in the kitchen talking to her friend Donna, another policeman's wife. She had heard the bad news already and called to comfort my mother, who hadn't yet received the news from the police chief. Police cars start streaming down our long driveway, an insane amount of cars. I heard my Mom shriek when she opened the door to receive the bad news. "Where's Frank? Where's Frank", she screeched and wailed. I stood numbly not understanding the police chief's words, not wanting to hear, dizzy, confused, shocked, and then crying. My dad was killed in a traffic accident at work.

I rememberr kissing my dad goodbye that afternoon. My Mom and him were having a disagreement and I stayed in my room listening carefully to hear my dad get ready to leave. WhenI heard him walk down to the front door to leave I popped down the stairs to kiss him goodbye as I did everyday. His fresh shaven face, his spotless uniform armed with a billy club and a whistle and the gun. His shiny shoes. He used to shine his shoes once a week. His wooden shoe shine box with the brushes and the cloths and the polish. I can smell it right now, him and his shiny police shoes. As I watch my mother wailing, while holding my 2 year old brother, I cry just because she is in so much pain. I cry and cry. My older siblings are unapproachable with their own adolescent pain. My own pain was of a 10 year old girl who idolized her father. I still had that innocent crush girls have on their only protector. It was a cool fall day and it got dark quickly. More cops show dad's best friends, his brothers in uniform. One kneeled down next to me and said that I will be having feelings I don't understand, but it's okay to feel them. That was the only words I can remember until my aunt and uncle came to whisk me away to their home. My Mom had her own grief to deal with and my older siblings and the baby needed her too. I was pulled away. I was going to stay at my aunt's house. It was like losing a mom and a dad all in one day. "I'm afraid to go in the car." I said. My aunt comforted me and said it will be okay. I was too numb and traumatized to make a fuss. She held me in the front seat of the car as my uncle drove cautiously home. No one wore their seat belts back then. I was put to bed with my younger cousin and don't remember much of the next few days. I was gone from school for 2 weeks . I remember his wake was a big deal. He had 2 pall bearers standing guard duing the wake. From Monday to Friday I went to the wake to pray next to my dad's peaceful body, the smell of carnations was sickeningly sweet. The last day of the wake I had to kiss my dad goodbye. I knelt into the casket and quickly kissed his cool face. Then, burst into little girl tears. It helped me to see my father laying dead to understand what happened but it never really sunk in. For years I pretended my dad was just away and was going to come back. I totally denied his death for years and years.

This whole week has been a numbing reminder of what 9 children this week are going through. I was never be the same after that day in November. Fortunately they offer grief counseling to children of police officers who die on duty nowadays. It's the kind of help I could have used to help deal with my denial that he was gone instantly on that cold fall day.

Some organizations that help families of fallen officers which take donations of support:

The Officer Down Memorial Page

American Police hall of Fame

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (found in each state)

National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund

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