Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tragedy Strikes

It has been a crazy week in our household.  So crazy that our mystery date did not happen.  That is a story for another day.  Disappointing to be sure, but what are you gonna do?  However, it has been even crazier for our community.

Last week, we lost one of our Sheriff's deputies - Sergio Aleman, in a tragic accident during rush hour.  He was married and a father of five children.  He was also the uncle of my husband's partner.  And, by the grace of God, it was a Blue shift.  Had it been 24 hours earlier, they would have been the ones on scene.  J mentioned he was SO glad to not be on that call one we heard the details and was even more relieved after he talked to his partner.  Please send prayers to his family during this time of grief and heartbreak.  May God be with them and make His healing presence known and bring them acceptance.  The funeral is this morning.  I hope it brings peace and closure.


And then on Sunday.  One of those things that happens, but not here.  We see it on the news, but it would NEVER happen here.  We all watched Aurora tried and make sense of the tragedy last month.  Who knew where Oak Creek, Wisconsin was before Sunday?  

I was watching Oddities (I LOVE that show) wrapping D's headphones for school when my phone rang. It was my fellow fire wife neighbor - who was at work.  "Is J at the temple??"  I literally looked at my phone like she was crazy.  I asked her what she was talking about. "Oh, my god, you don't know." And she then quickly told me to turn on the news.   A gunman had opened fire at the Sikh Temple 10 minutes from our homes, at this point there were reports of 2, maybe 3 gunmen.  There was talk of 29 people down.  A Oak Creek police officer was down.  20+ med units from at least 6 departments, including our own.  J was on shift.  Now, I KNOW, they would not send the meds in until the scene is secure.  I KNOW they would not create more casualties.  But, that does not mean my heart did not drop a bit as I watched the coverage and tried to figure out which units were there.  I did not need him on scene with a barrage of crazed lunatics with weapons.  I sent him a text, figuring he would probably respond pretty quickly to let me know all was well.  45 minutes later I left him a Voicemail asking him to just check in with me to let me know he was not there.  I never actually CALL him at work.  He is at the 2nd busiest med house in the state.  15-18 runs a day is more of the norm than the exception.

An hour later he got back to me and I was able to breathe a bit easier.  It was Med 10 and Med 15 that was there, not my hubby.

Two messages here.
Spouses of firefighters and law enforcement.  Make sure you tell your significant other that you love them before they leave for their shift.  You just never know.   It is simply the nature of their profession.  Safety comes first, but you can only train and plan for so much.  Some things are just out of our control.  Also make sure you have some plan in place for communication in times of such intense events.  I have always had a plan for the possibility that I find myself raising my children alone, make sure you talk about it.  It is uncomfortable, it is scary.  But, it is, however, a very real possibility.

And more of a general message, be educated not ignorant.  The Sikh community around the world is grieving.  They have had so many senseless attacks on their temples, their gurdwaras, since the Twin Towers fell.   And no one of their faith was involved with the tragedies of 9/11.  They are a peaceful community, there is no call for this violence.  Now, that being said, what we have learned about the gunman leads me to believe that no amount of education would have stopped him.  He was angry and hate-filled. His music spread these messages of hate.  The military would not re-enlist him.  He was not okay.  I will not mention his name, this is not about him.  This is about those whose lives will never be the same because of his angry hatred.

Please offer prayers for our community.  Prayers for the families of the victims of this senseless hatred and prayers for the Sikh community.  Please also keep Dep. Aleman's family in your prayers as well, as they say their final good-byes today. 

Hug your kids and kiss your firefighters.  Make sure they know you love them.

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