Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Being a CHP Wife

An officer was shot and killed last week. Up in the San Jose- Walnut Creek area. It was about 8am on a very busy highway (interstate, actually. I-680). He was shot in the neck and head. His name was Officer Youngstrom. He was 37, married, and has four kids.

I'm 35, Ryan is 39. We are married. We have four kids.

Ryan was shot.

But, he lived. Not only did he live, his injury was patched up in a jiffy.

I have been totally and completely fine with Ryan being shot. It was "just his hand" and his vest. He's fine. I know that, I see it, I'm not worried.

But this shooting made me sad. It still does. This woman, his wife, assumed he would be coming home later that day. He probably left for work before his kids got up. They probably got pulled out of school early, only to be told that their dad was in the hospital, and not doing well. She probably got a call from a sargent or leutenent saying her husband had been shot and is on his way to the hospital. She never got a real chance to say good-bye. Not that saying good-bye makes it any easier, but maybe it would make it feel more organized, feel like there was some closure. But who ever wants to close that door anyway?

I do not take it for granted that Ryan is alive. If he were to ever read my blog, he might say I was being dramatic. I can't help it. Yesterday someone asked my sister Kendra how it was being married to a cop. She said, "It's fine until someone gets shot."

And it is fine. Until you are taken to that place where as the wife, your husband is bleeding on the street and you are with your kids all by yourself. This latest shooting has taken me to that place I manage to stay away from. It's that place of "If only's" and "What if's" of being a single parent and telling the kids about how their dad WAS. What he DID. How he LAUGHED. What his hobbies WERE. It's past tense. And I'm not ready for that. I am so not ready to be a widow.

The great news is this: I don't have to be. I don't have to be ready. I can keep my mind in the present and be grateful he wasn't hurt worse. I was fairly oblivious as to the magnitude of what happened to our family. Looking back, I was shielded from the panic. I was calm. Stoic, even. This shooting, when I read about it (or write about, like now) is like a nagging, sharp finger that pokes me in the heart and says, "This could have been you."

I am married to a CHP officer. My sister is, too. Our cousin Jennifer will be next month. Ryan has been shot. Michael and Mike were rear ended while on a stop. Mike was in the car, and Michael dove into the car to avoid being hit. The trunk was in the backseat.

Our family has been blessed in that they have been kept safe. Ryan has minimal permanent injury to his hand. No one is dead.

I hope it stays that way. My heart truly does ache for the wife and four kids left without their husband and father.

To see photos from our shooting, go HERE.


  1. It's eerie for me that you wrote this last night as I too was doing the what if game. We bought life insurance for both of us about two years back which definitely takes the financial worry away. But after losing my father two weeks ago, it really made me start thinking about how much kids need their dads. And I have also thought a lot about your family and how grateful I am the Ryan is doing well.

  2. I have a similar blog post in my head. Trying to decice if I want to let it out. Of course mine would be different, my husband hasn't been shot. My mind can't go the same place yours does. But the what ifs are easy to start asking, because next time it could be me. Kendra is right, it's fine until someone gets shot. Saying that of course just gets odd looks. When things like this happen I have crazy thoughts, like if I had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night would I be wearing the raggedy chp tshirt I sleep in. Really, as if that matters. Thank you for this post.

  3. @ Jen- we bought life insurance a few years ago, too. That helps PART of the situation. That, and I have employment back up plans and options. (Thank-you college!) Kids definitely need dads.

    @Cori- It's weird, but it does matter what you wear to the hospital! Lol. It shouldn't, but there are a TON of people there that you don't know, so if you look halfway decent, you don't have THAT to worry about. :) The rest of Kendra's conversation went like this: Her: "It's fine until one gets shot." Guy from church I don't know: "Oh, ya, like that one up in Kernville. That was crazy." Her: "That was my brother in law." Him: "What?!?" That's funny when that happens.
    The weird thing is this: I don't dwell, think, ponder, or conjecture about Ryan and his job 99.9% of the time. Since May, it's more like 90% of the time. I just don't. But then this happens, and it is a fresh reminder of the possibility. Anyone can die at any time just going to the grocery store. But it's different when someone targets them. Or it's job related. It probably shouldn't be any different. But it is.