I’m not a great long-term planner—never have been—rather ironic that now I’m a Planner by profession. So much for real police work (much to James’s amusement).
We’ve all had them—events that change the direction of our lives—maybe not as tragic as the loss of a child, but things that have happened to us, ultimately pointing us in a new direction with a new perspective.
There have been so many changes in my life since Stefanie’s death and none of them would I have imagined before (including being a Planner).
I’ll probably never be a street cop again. At first, my shame was unbearable, but I’ve come to accept it and moved on. No one wants me dealing with insolent high school kids with bad attitudes. My filter has been damaged and I don’t have, nor do I want, the energy that it requires to restrain my instinct to smash them over the head with my baton. Suffice to say, I won’t put myself in that position to save everyone, even the SIU, any extra hassles.
But, as time marches on, I have regained my courage to trust my instincts as far as my loved ones go, whereas before, I might have hidden in the corner afraid of my inability to react properly. That’s not to say I am emotionally, or physically, for that matter, ready to chase bad guys with guns anymore, but it’s proof to myself that I’m healing, which I had all but given up on.
This morning, there was an odd-looking chap across the street, and yes, James and I are excessively hyper-vigilant of anyone who just stands on our street for no apparent reason. He looked harmless enough but he was smoking and staring directly at my girlfriend’s house who happened to be home alone.
She is as beautiful and poised as she is intelligent and thoughtful, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say she might have droves of men trying to get a glimpse of her, even when she is just walking the dog.
In the end, it turned out to be nothing—unless of course he returns another day—but what I was most pleased about was my immediate ability to confidently offer to help her and make sure she was safe—admittedly a rather pathetic offer since her two dogs could do a lot more damage than I ever could, but the point is that I felt self-assured, and that’s been missing for a very long time.
She is just one of the many people I have met since Stefanie’s death whom I adore and am so pleased to call my friend, and the list is bountiful. I would never have met the Crown and the articling students who, like champions, held our hands and brilliantly won the cases. We have formed a friendship that I value very highly and plan on treasuring for a lifetime.
Facebook? I would never have joined if it weren’t for the “In Loving Memory of Stefanie Rengel” page that I took great comfort in reading. Now I so enjoy keeping up with friends I might not be able to see as much as I would like.
The list goes on and on, from journalists, to insurance lawyers, classmates and mentors, and mums of other murdered children. It’s incredible to me how one horrible, disgusting and potentially life ruining event could bring so much goodness with it in the form of extraordinary people.
Who plans for this? It’s one of those things that turns life upside down and sends us in a completely different direction. We just don’t know who we’ll meet and what influence they’ll have over our lives.
I’ll never again be so rigid that I won’t just accept a gentle turning of life’s direction and go with it willingly. It’s a restoring of a faith that things are meant to be, regardless of how impossible that might seem at the time.
So, if faced with a fork in the road, don’t fret too much. Do what feels right as far as your values and beliefs go and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be and enjoy all the amazing people you’ll meet along the way.
Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling.