Friday, March 25, 2016

Honoring A Hero

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

In the last six days, I have seen my community come together in love & solidarity amidst a tragedy. Our beautiful little corner of the world here in upstate South Carolina was dark but for a moment last Friday, March 18, when an officer of local law enforcement lost his life at the hands of a criminal, a gang member, a child. I cannot begin to fathom what his friends and family have felt over the last week because I know that even with the sincerest use of my imagination, what I muster up cannot come close to the sinking reality of losing a friend or family member so tragically.

When I first heard the news that an officer had been fatally wounded, I felt the automatic sadness that comes from hearing such news. I flashed back to life several years ago, when fear of my ex husband not coming home everyday was very real in my world.  My ex husband is a former police officer, and I remember the feeling I had for his position as the spouse. It was fear mixed with pride, and I spent many nights in my younger years praying, to who I'm not sure, but praying that I would never have to explain why Daddy wasn't coming home anymore to my two young toddlers. If you have never been a part of a LEO family, I'm not sure you can adequately understand the bit of fear you feel when you kiss your significant other, or son, or mother, or father, knowing that there is a true reality of them meeting a fateful end when they don that patrol belt and bulletproof vest. So in the middle of the night last Friday, while I was up to feed the baby, I read the news that turned this nameless officer into a very real person, and one that I had actually met in passing before. I felt compelled to share his identity with my husband right then & there, at 4 in the morning, and we shared the sadness in the dark of our bedroom.  For the next several days, the news of his passing, thoughts of his family, and questions about what we could do to support those left behind, all stayed at the forefront of our minds.

Officer Allen Jacobs left behind in this earthly world two young sons, a beautiful, loving wife, and a sweet unborn baby girl. What I have witnessed from my community since his passing has been nothing short of beautiful. I have seen love and solidarity come out in droves. We have all watched Officer Jacobs' patrol car become beautifully adorned in flowers, cards, pictures, little pieces of memories that people felt compelled to share. 

When I told my four year old son of the news, he immediately was concerned for the two boys close to his age. He began asking lots of questions about why God would let them lose their daddy. These were questions I was unable to come up with any answers to. His answer to the sadness, though, was to make a card for the boys. He was sad that they were sad, and he told me that a card would make him feel a little bit better if he were sad, so he set to work. He later approached me to tell me he was sad about their unborn baby sister too. "When will she be born?" he asked me, and I told him she was expected to be born right around his own little sister's birthday. He immediately got very excited, and said to me, "I hope she's born on Lyric's birthday, and you know why? If she's born on Lyric's birthday, they can be friends always and she will never have to be sad on her birthday because she will have a friend for life." My heart ached with love and sadness and pride at my young boy's response to this entire tragedy. 

I have read biographies and articles and heard snippets of Allen Jacobs' life, and confidently, I can say that he led an honorable and influential life. I am saddened at this terrible loss, but I feel respect and admiration for the unity I have felt within my community. I feel certain that the family of Officer Jacobs will be wrapped in loving arms and have support from every corner.  I am grateful that from the ashes of tragedy, a cloak of love has been formed.

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:9

Officer Allen Lee Jacobs
E.O.W. March 18, 2016

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