When I was little, my father was killed.
I don't remember very much from the funeral, other than the countless uniformed police officers who had been there on that day. It was just too much for my childish mind to properly understand.
One thing I remember very clearly though is the endless procession of them parading by, saying that they were sorry.
Little Nicky asked me why they were sorry and I told him that they weren't, that they were simply lying.
Despite being the older brother, I didn't fully understand everything that
had happened myself. I was so angry and wished they'd leave us alone. We just
had lost our father and knew that Ma would soon be sending one of us away to
our Aunt and Uncle in California, far away from home.
And I missed my Pa so very much. All I wanted was for this to be a bad dream, that I would wake up and he'd be there, telling us everything would be alright again.
Of course, when Ma heard about what I'd said, she got very angry about it and told me how could I even think that. And then to say it to my little brother. The one who understood even less than I did.
For a long time I thought that to be the reason she'd sent me away after the funeral instead of Nicky.
Only over the years I slowly understood that she had done it with my best interest at heart, making one of the hardest decisions a mother could but never should be forced to make.
Today I'm standing here at the funeral of Officer Hanson. In full dress uniform
alongside my brother cops and I'm desperately trying to find the right words
to say to his widow and his crying children. I just can't seem to figure out
what to tell without the words sounding meaningless.
This whole scene somehow reminds me very strongly of my youth and I suddenly remember that day from so long ago again. What I'd told my brother. And I realize just how right I had been back then.
And also how wrong.
I am very sorry about the loss the family has suffered, that much is true. But also I can't help but feel guilty. For not being able to tell what I truthfully feel.
For being glad that it isn't me lying in that coffin.