Friday, August 8, 2008

Some Healing Began

Today a hurt was mended!
If you have been with me any length of time, you probably know that I have been very bitter over the leaving of my previous job, ie life,a police officer. I spent 21 and a half years at that place giving my heart, body and soul to it each and every day that I put on the uniform. I have funny stories, sad one, and some incredible memories from that time in my life. I spent many years teaching the youth of our community the dangers of drugs, alcohol and bad choices. But I gave more than lessons, I lived it as well. I opened my home, my heart, and my family to the community. And I was well respected, well blessed, well received by the parents, children, teachers, administration of educators, grandparents and the general public of our community. But not my peers.
I have always felt my peers did not accept or approve of the work I did in the DARE program. What a shame. I have always felt that kids love police but do not always find us approachable. The DARE program makes that one of the main priorities, the contact, the connection between police and the kids. The relationship that the officer develops with the young people by eating lunch with them, playing on the play ground, going to their plays, their ballgames and even having them in my home for pizza parties or some other play even by the classroom. I have had 20, 30 and more kids at my home at one time. We had wonderful times together.
Everyone needs to be accepted for who they are. EVERYONE needs to feel special, needs to be recognized for who they are and what they do. These are basic social needs. we all have them, at all ages. The DARE program is one of those feel good programs that everyone loves to hate. If you are not in the middle of it, if you do not experience it first hand in a positive way, then it is very easy to discount it. To find fault in it, and to honestly, maybe, even be a little jealous of it.
After serving nearly 22 years at that department, it was time for me to go. I could not stand the stress, the hatefulness, the bitterness, the lack of respect, lack of support and the lies from the administration at my department. I had fought long, I had fought hard, and I had fought furiously for many years and I was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of being lied to, tired of being made fun of, tired of being discriminated against, I was just tired. It is like fighting a cancer that is attacking your body. You fight, you try to find treatments, and ways of dealing with this ...this consumption of your body. It eats away your energy, your spirit, your health. Cancer kills you. And this cancer was killing me. It was spreading too. My attitude was causing a bitterness that I had never seen in myself. But there was a straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. That did it. My spirit was completely broken. Along with my heart. I was put under investigation for being in violation of chain of command and being unprofessional. Yes, my spirit was finally broken and could not be fixed any longer. Unprofessional? You have got to be kidding. I tried to be the example of professionalism in that police department. But the cancer was to far advanced and the fight was just getting to be too much. It was defeating me. I have the answers to many of the problems our children face. I have the ANSWERS....but no one wants to ask me the questions nor listen to the answers. After 16 years of being in that field, and having a heart for children, I have learned a few things. I had the answers. But no body wanted to listen, no body that could do anything about it that is. The fight was over. I turned in my notice of retirement, got in trouble for going to eat lunch on my last day of work (I kid you not!!!) cleaned out my office, my desk, my years of accumulations by myself (with the help of my husband at least!). I left without a handshake, with out a goodbye, without a kick in the pants from my fellow officers and my chief. The only people that acknowledged me were the six girls in front records. Those ladies baked me a cake, we said goodbye. But the bitterness stayed with me.
Today I went back:
Today after signing papers in Enid at the Insurance Office ( I love my insurance people and those are not words I use together very!) we ran by the police department for me to pick up my retired officer card! Yes, one year later I had to drive two hours to pick up my piece of paper! But I spent about two hours there. I went in to see "my girls" first. I took some pictures, shared my pictures from my photography classes and we talked! We laughed, we hugged, and we gloated because I am retired and not living in Enid any more!!! (Ok, "I" gloated!) My old buddy Tom came in and gave me a hug (my husband was with me!) and we talked about horses and kids and his dad for a long time. He has now made Captain! Way to go Tom. I saw Tommy, the same guy that joined the department with me! My brother, who retired one month before me, but he came back as a civilian and is a supervisor for the 911 dispatch center. Oh it was good to see Tommy. I ran by his house and took pictures of his horses, they are beautiful and he is getting quite a little herd of this Haflingers, small draft horses used for pulling. Beautiful animals. Then I saw Scott M. He is my other brother, he joined with Tommy and me and I have written stories about these guys here in my other postings. It was sure good to see him. He adopted a baby 3 years ago thanks to my daughter who had a friend that was pregnant and needed a good home for the baby that she could not keep. I even saw my former Lieutenant and we visited for quite a while about farming, kids and former officers. It was very good to see him today. The assistant chief came walking by in a funky shirt of some kind and shorts. I am guessing he was on his day off and just stopped by the office for a minute, but even in his attire he stopped and asked me how I was doing, did I enjoy retirement, was I working, and did I ever get my retirement card? That is the most he has talked to me....ever. And it was in a very nice tone of voice, and he acted like he cared about my answers. He even smiled at me and said good bye.
We left the station to go take pictures of the horses, ran by and saw an old friend who is nearly 78 years old and still working for the sheriff's department. He was so glad to see me. Then we went by another officers house who also just adopted a baby after trying for several years and umpteen miscarriages , they had just given up on a baby. Now they have a beautiful baby boy Connor Ray who will have a wonderful home to grow up in. I was so glad to see him for the first time. We then drove by our old home. The home we built with the plans of living there forever. Our 15 acres, our 3,000 square foot home that I designed, and Scott built by himself, with his hands. Yes, it had not changed that much. But you know what??? I was not bitter. I was glad to not be living there. I did not miss the house as much any more, I did not miss the old town that had been home for the past 30 years, I did not miss the flat vast land of northwest Oklahoma. I did not miss it. I was ok with it all. It was good to see my old friends, but it was even better to get home. HOME. Yes, I am home. I think some healing really has begun.


Joni said...

I'm so glad you were able to have time to share and visit with those you worked with...kind of let's us see the water under the bridge so to speak when we are outside of the stress and politics of work...and it was probably a really good feeling knowing you have left that mess behind and can get on back to your own peaceful home...

I've always had much respect for the DARE program, I think it serves as a wonderful opportunity for officers and kids to make a connection...thank you for your service to this program...there is a great need for more people to be as involved as you were and thank you Lisa for always taking the time to stop by for a visit, I always look forward to reading your are such a sweet friend ~

Homesteader in Training said...

Sometimes you have to go back in order to move forward. I'm glad you had some healing through it all. My best friend's husband did Dare for years and they just up and ended it. No DARE! He really cared about those kids but now they don't even have the program where he's at any more. Isn't that sad? All because of FUNDING!!
What do you do? I hope you have a most excellent day at HOME!
Blessings my friend.

Mental P Mama said...

Fantastic post! Time really is the great healer...and my kids were in the DARE program in school. The DARE officers are wonderful, and maybe, just maybe, you paved the way....

Sage said...

Healing feels good, doesn't it? I'm so glad you went back and found out that you could handle it. And things will get better yet, with time. The DARE program is a wonderful program, and don't let anyone tell you that it isn't, or that you didn't do a great job. If they have a problem, then so be it. You did your job, you did a good job, and I'm willing to bet that you saved lives. That is your reward, your payment, and no one can take it away from you.

I respect you and the job you did, dear friend. Wish there were more people like you involved with our youth!

Tonjia said...

Lisa, you needed this.. you didnt know it, but you really really needed this. A visit as positive as this one has provided you closure to a chapter in your life, and proved to you that you can move on.
you can put the bitterness, anger and frustration behind you and move forward, like the professional that you are.

I applaud you, as a comitted law enforcement officer who obviously took her job seriously and to heart. I wish every dept in the nation could clone your obvious love for law enforcement....

Kudos to you, my friend!!!!

by the way, Breanna loved the DARE program so much she went through it twice. LOL she went through it in 5th grade in KS and then we moved to PA and she went through it in 6th grade there.

LE officers are some of my favorite people on earth. I really do think cops and ER nurses have a lot in common, we click... know what I mean?

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

It does sound like some healing happened. How wonderful that you had a reason to go back - otherwise you may have avoided it for a long time.

I'm sure that there were many people who greatly appreciated the job that you did even if you never knew it.

Thanks for all your hard work!

Debbie said...

Gosh Lisa, I had no idea...

I'm glad you were able to go visit and come back knowing you were where you belong. This had to be so difficult for you. 22 years is a long time to serve your community without so much as a thank you from the force. Well, we thank you for your service to our young children and I'm sure you made a huge difference by the work you did! We're proud of you!