Five Years.

How has it been five years? 

How has life kept moving and changing, as so much of our little world froze that day? 

April 22. 

The day Officer Chris Killcullen was killed. 

The day a Department lost one of their best. 

The day countless men and women lost their friend. 

The day a family lost their Son, their brother, and cousin. 

The day two little girls lost a Father. 

The day my kindred lost the Love of her Life, her Husband.

April 22. 

5 years ago. 

Since that day five years ago, Chris’s goodness that he lived so fully in life has been reflected in the beautiful way his family has continued to scatter…freely, willingly, with great care. 

It hasn’t always been without cost. 

It hasn’t always been easy. 

But Chris’s name is still spoken with Love and Life. A life stolen, but a legacy that speaks volumes about what a man should be. And who a Hero is. 

Often people have told my kindred Kristie  “You are so Strong.” 

And she is strong. But not for the reasons they say…

My friend Kristie is broken. 

Her entire world was shattered into a million pieces publicly. No amount of support can change that reality. 

But she got up. And she got her girls to school. And some days she laid in bed all day. And some days she worked out for too long. And some days she didn’t work out at all. She stood in the pits of a hell that many will never ever understand. 

And some people she loved, who loved Chris stopped showing up. They weren’t strong enough in their grief to watch her grief. 

They came around a few times that first year. 

They showed up once or twice the second. 

And then they stopped. 

It was all too much. They just couldn’t. 

Even though…

She was still right there. 

She was the one walking over shards of broken grief. She was the one with the name, who woke up to the small round face with his smile, in a home that had walls echoing memories of a life. Of a love. Of a family. 

And yet…

She didn’t allow that grief to become an incinerator of red hot anger and bitterness. Don’t get me wrong, there have been tears because of the thoughtless, the insensitive, and the takers. 

But there has been so many more moments of her searching through the brokenness, through the grief, and still honoring his life and their life together. 

Most won’t see that sort of darkness. Not like she has. 

But there are those of us that have waded through some of it with her. And we know how strong she really is. 

And it’s not for the reasons people say. 

She is strong because even in her brokenness she has held women who walk in the same shards of grief she has. Because she knows how sharp and cruel grief can be, and she knows what it’s like to lay in the dark and never know if it’s going to end. 

And she has gotten up, every damn day…for five years.

Through her brokenness she has shown up in Life. She has forged a different kind of life. A life with cracks. But a life where happiness can be found even in the brokenness. Where love can grow and thrive even if it’s a different kind of Life. 

Her circle has gotten smaller but it’s a strong circle. It’s the kind of circle where you can be broken and cracked and real. It’s the kind of circle where you are safe. You can yell at God and then pray together the next minute. We show up for each other. We need each other. So much. 

Five years ago this world lost a Hero. And his life mattered. His life still matters. 

But the goodness he shared with anyone who met him, still lives. 

It’s been Five years. 

Learn from the broken. 

See through the cracks. 

Show up. Love. Thrive. Live. 

We will never forget you Chris…

I love you Kristie. You are so strong.