I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books
#IStandwithKDF- I wrote this post in 2012.However, when I heard about the Kenyan soldiers who were killed last week, I was reminded of this and decided to re-post it as a tribute to our fallen soldiers.May they rest in peace and may God comfort their families.Thank you for your service to our country.
In the Line of Duty
“We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” — Francis A. Walker
I liked it when he was home. We always had so much fun with the kids. I remember watching him play with our five year old son as our daughter sat on his lap. He was a good father and I loved our family and our life together. When he first brought us here, I was not too thrilled. I knew he was a Policeman but I never really thought about life in a Police Line. I preferred living in the countryside with his mother and the kids. I was even okay with seeing him only once a fortnight when he would visit us for a weekend. In addition, I always looked forward to the 30 days that he would spend home whenever he was on his annual leave.
One weekend, he came home and told me that he had been allocated a bigger house. He was no longer sharing his place with another policeman. This meant that we could all move to Nairobi and live with him. At first, I was thrilled. However, once we settled into the Police Line, I realized that I was now exposed to his life. I learned about spending sleepless nights every time he would be out on night shift. I learned about watching the TV in fear and anxiety every time it was reported that a police man had been killed. The sounds of gunshots also became a norm for me. There was always a gun going off by mistake and at times, there were gunshots as a result of suicide. For some reason, the suicide rates in the Police Line were very high. Another thing I got to learn to live with is the sirens and alarms. Whenever, they went off, the police would quickly dress up mostly in the anti-riot gear and run out. These alarms, I hated. Another thing about life in the Police Line is that you get to adjust to the number of deaths and injuries in the line of duty. You may see someone in the morning only to be told an hour later that they were killed in the line of duty. This is a nightmare and a constant worry for most of us married to law enforcement officers.
I remember that fateful day just like it was yesterday. He had worked the nightshift and so I knew he had the day off. He came home at 6am, had his breakfast and went to bed. That is his normal routine, he would sleep for a few hours until lunchtime and then he would spend the afternoon with me and the children. I did not go to bed once he got home, instead I started cleaning up. I also wanted to get enough time to make his special meal. I quietly let him sleep as I embarked on my duties.
It was just a few minutes past 10am when I heard the dreaded sound. It was the alarm! I knew something had happened and so all the officers were being called out. I hadn’t even reached the bedroom door when I saw him already up and dressing. He had heard it too. He quickly wore his anti-riot gear and came to the living room. He said good bye to me and the children and then ran out. Two minutes later, he was back. I asked him if he had forgotten something but he said that he couldn’t even remember why he had come back. He hugged me and each of our child and said goodbye. This was a bit odd since he never hugged us unless he is going away for a long time. I suddenly felt engulfed with a feeling of sadness that I couldn’t quite explain.I brushed the feeling away and went back to preparing lunch.
In most cases, when the police go out to deal with the riots, they normally come back within two to three hours. Due to the running battles, they normally come home exhausted, so I wanted to be ready to take care of him when he got home. In some cases, they come home injured or sneezing and coughing from the teargas. Since you can never be sure about what to expect, it is always good to be ready for anything.
At 2pm, they were not yet back. I went outside my house and tried to be on the lookout to see if ill see their truck coming back. Suddenly, I heard a voice behind me, “Leo inatakikana we pray,naskia ni kubaya kabisa town”. It was Mama Morgan, my neighbor. She explained that she had seen something on the news about the riots. I thought about going back home and switching on my television to watch the news but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I went back home and stayed with the children. I tried to read to them and tell them stories so as to keep my mind occupied. All the while, I kept on looking at the wall clock. By this time, my husband had been gone for 12 hours. I fell asleep on the couch for a while as I held the sleeping kids close to me. Suddenly, I woke up in shock. I do not even know what had woken me up, I felt like I had been slapped, but then again, there was nobody around. I was sweating and my heart was beating rapidly. The children were still asleep. I covered them with a shawl and decided to go outside. It was dark already.
When I got outside one thing I noticed is that there was a lot of movement. This meant that the police were now back. However, unlike the other times, they did not seem in a hurry to get home. They were standing around and talking in small groups. I looked around the groups trying to find my husband but I couldn’t see him. I started running towards the police station, all the while ignoring the people around me. Most of them stared at me while others simply avoided making eye contact with me.
I arrived at the reporting desk and immediately saw my husband’s friend. He was seated down with his head in his hands,he still had his anti-riot gear. A police woman was seated next to him with her arm around him. I looked at his blue work shirt which was covered in blood. When he saw me, he started crying. I simply stood and stared at him. I did not even need anyone to tell me what had happened. In my heart, I knew it, my husband was no more. He had died in the line of duty.
I thought about my two young children and myself. I wondered what would happen to us. We would have to leave the police line but then, what next? I thought about my husband. I wondered if he knew that he was not going to come back to us. I thought about the person or people who killed him and wondered if they thought about him or the fact that he had a young family back home. Even if they found out about us, did they care? Maybe they are already celebrating the fact that another cop had bit the dust.I know the way most people felt about the police and it broke my heart to think that my husband had died serving people who probably despised him because of his uniform.I cried and wanted to die and join him, but then again, I still had two children depending on me. I thought about his death and wondered if at all he really had to die. He had chosen this career and he had once mentioned that he knew he would probably die by the gun. I had a million questions but the only thing i knew for sure was that, he was gone forever.
Growing up in different police-lines, I saw many families destroyed by meaningless deaths of officers. Most of these men and women were dedicated to their jobs and their country. They sacrificed so much. Unfortunately, most end up dying in the line of duty, losing their lives in the hands of those they try to protect and serve.
For all the men and women in uniform who have died in the line of duty, Rest in peace.