People often ask me, “what’s it like being married to a cop?”

First of all, I’m married to a man that happens to be a cop. And not just any cop, but one of South Carolina’s finest. So to answer your question as to what it’s like… I can’t speak for all wives and police families. I can only speak for ours.

It’s constant worry. It’s going on with your life day in and day out. We as wives have our own careers that we must focus on also. This doesn’t mean that we worry any less; it means our minds stay occupied for the moment. It means that we are helping to provide for our families. It means that we also make sacrifices.

It’s constant criticism. It’s being criticized and labeled due to being married to the man who is a cop. It’s hearing people talk badly about your best friend, the father of your children. It’s forcing a smile and ignoring the ignorance, hate and anger they have towards them. It’s having to explain to your children why people call him a “pig”. It’s being asked questions as to why people hate their daddy.

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It’s hearing last calls. It’s feeling the pain of a fellow wife… when you know that you could be the next one to be handed a folded flag. It’s praying for the ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice. It’s praying for their families, both blood and blue. It’s fighting back tears as you watch your spouse put a black band across their badge. It’s being strong for the one that you love as they attend yet another funeral for a fallen brother or sister.

It’s not being able to truly make plans. Any wife, fiancé or girlfriend can attest to this. All it takes is a last minute call to completely ruin a dinner date, a holiday or a birthday party. It’s having to celebrate a day whenever they are off. It’s explaining to your children that Daddy won’t be home for Christmas. It’s waking up at 4:00 AM so that he can watch the kids open gifts before he goes to work.

It’s blood-stained uniforms. It’s the smell of death. It’s muddy boots. If you don’t know what death smells like, it’s awful. It’s seeing the pain in your husband’s eyes after they’ve notified a family that their child has been killed. It’s not asking questions because you know that they’ll come to you if and when they’re ready to talk.

It’s endless training, I mean endless. There are days it feels like I never see him. I may complain the day of but in the long run I’m thankful for the training. That’s his assurance that he and his fellow officers make it home. You somehow get accustomed to it.

It’s mandated overtime when a natural disaster hits your area. I’ve watched for three years straight as my husband has left us during a hurricane. He left to go help others while we were home to fend for ourselves. That’s what you call doing what you love!

It’s having family in each city, state and county. It’s having sisters that you’ve never met. Yet, they get you, get your life and you make lasting friendships.

Holidays on duty are just that, on duty. It’s preparing enough food to feed fellow officers. The officers who can’t sneak away to their house so they come to yours to eat. It’s now a family affair. It’s buying gifts for the guys on shift. I mean after all, you know them, their families and their dedication.

It’s compromise and hard work. In order to survive this life as the wife, fiancé or girlfriend you must compromise. If you aren’t able to work around their schedule and them work around yours, you’ll go crazy. If you aren’t willing to work for it, you’ll never have it.

It’s shift changes. It’s days where they are gone and lonely nights at home. It’s wishing that they were there with you. It’s missing your best friend.

It’s family and friends saying that you have an invisible husband. They are rarely seen due to work. It’s people being upset that you don’t attend a family gathering when they’re off. That’s because we also need our “family” time.

It’s people calling and texting you saying that your husband saved someone’s life. It’s someone saying I saw a guy overdose, he was almost dead but your husband brought him back. This, this will make your heart swell with pride and admiration. It’s the being shot at; it’s wrestling a man with a gun. It’s my husband and the man with a gun both walking away unharmed.

It’s faith. It’s praying and begging God to keep them safe. It’s praying for a hedge of protection over them and their fellow brothers and sisters. It’s praying that they come home.

It’s pride! It’s the pride in knowing that the one that you love selflessly leaves you and your family behind. It’s the pride in knowing that they want to make a difference. It’s watching them shine their shoes, crease their pants and shirts. It’s watching them put on a vest that will hopefully protect them if the situation arises. It’s watching them put on a uniform that they have worked hard for and earned. It’s the pride in knowing that if that shift is the last one, if they don’t make it home they did what they were called to do.

Last but not least, it’s love and trust. If you don’t have a firm foundation based on love and trust, you have nothing. You must trust them to prepare themselves and handle any situation thrown their way. With love, all things are possible.

The next time you see a wife whose husband is a cop, throw some encouraging words to them. We have enough negativity. Be someone who supports not only the husband, but also supports us. Our husbands deal with a lot on duty, but we also deal with a lot on the home front.

Sincerely,

Tiffany Edwards