My Story Begins Here
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
My husband was a correctional officer at our local jail for about 5 years. People would always ask me if he liked working at the jail which I always thought was a weird question; he liked it as much as one probably can like working in a place like that. There's a pension, benefits, reliable schedule, and a job that will vary rarely, if ever, face lay offs because let's face it, there will always be a need for jails as long as humans are humans. But...it's still jail.
My husband would occasionally talk about his days. He would tell what I knew were just parts of stories. One thing he would always try to do, though, was text me if there was something serious going on and let me know that he was ok. I always took comfort in that. He would never give details, just reassurance that he was ok.
On Friday, September 14th, 2018, I got a phone call that I was not prepared for. At 1:51pm, the Superintendent called me. "Minor" things started running through my mind: he got pepper sprayed, maybe a broken arm...stuff like that. But then he asked me where I was, he asked for the address, and then he told me that an OPP officer and the jail chaplain were on their way. The words he spoke next will forever be engrained in my mind. "There has been an incident, and they have John."
I instantly collapsed. My mind could not comprehend the words it was being given. I didn't know what to do. My body was betraying me. I couldn't move. I hung up the phone and called my mother-in-law first (we were living with them at the time). I called her, and with my calmest voice, told her that she needed to come home right away.
The next few hours were the longest of my life. A blur of calling/texting immediate family. Our town is your classic small town and ANY type of news story travels fast. Before I knew it, I was ignoring tens and tens of text and calls from concerned friends who knew something was going on but they didn't know who was involved and they wanted to know if John was working that day.
FINALLY, about 4hrs later, after amazing work on behalf of the negotiator, I got the call that we were all sitting around the table waiting. They called and told me that John was (seemingly) physically ok and that he was on his way to the hospital to get checked out.
After confirming that aside from bruises and scrapes and a black eye John was physically ok, we went home to our two girls and our family. I wouldn't sleep that night. I would just sit upright in bed, thanking God over and over again that my husband was home. I lay there imagining what was going to happen next. I was silently overcome with the widest array of emotions; from gratefulness and anxiety to anger and sadness. I was feeling everything that had built up over the last 12 hours.
The next few weeks were a rollercoaster. Invasive journalists, generous community members, an abundance of resources, and a flood of emotions.
We had no idea what our future was going to look like. But for that moment, I knew that I had my husband home. What I didn't realize yet, was that he wouldn't be the same husband who had left for work that Friday morning.