Beating for two

About a month ago, two cops were on their way to serve a warrant to a man on an attempted murder charge. They were both shot. One, a 43-year-old husband and father, was killed. Thankfully, the other survived, but the community was heartbroken over the entire event. Many spent hours at the site of the accident, placing flowers, holding signs of well-wishes for the family and police department. The news spread nationally and officers from all over the country came to the fallen’s funeral. “You never know if it could be you,” they would say.
Pat, at the time, was involved in “Mindfulness” seminars. He would go every Tuesday to Cave Creek, a small, kitschy, Western-themed town north of Phoenix and learn how to reduce stress, be more present in each day, master breathing exercises, etc. At the end of each session they would have a sharing circle where each one of them would talk about what was causing them stress, what was making them happy, anything good or bad or interesting that was filling their minds. It was a release for all of them and made them aware of what they needed to work on in the next week.
One woman there, Pat told me, worked in the police department. I don’t think she knew the officers, but she knows them as a whole, knows their lifestyle, their sacrifices, their nuances, personalities. The officer’s death hit her especially hard and that’s what she shared that week, that the only way she could cope was by putting her hand over her chest and being mindful of her heartbeat. Through all the pain she was feeling that was the only thing reminding her she was still here, she was still OK.
I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time today, Pat said after her. The woman started crying, telling Pat, a relative stranger, that hearing that made her heart the lightest it had been in what felt like a really dark week.
Our hearts are one of the first things to grow. Our baby’s created its heart around Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been that much of a sucker for the chocolate and roses, but maybe now it will hold a place in me, a reminder that life, despite how hard and painful it can be, is really a beautiful, amazing thing.

PS. This photo was taken about 3 weeks ago. I’ll be 12 weeks on Monday and that much closer to being a human garbage disposal, but I bet it beats the nausea.

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