Saturday, September 15, 2012

One last farewell

We have felt a pretty deep layer of sadness at our home over the past 10 days. It felt pretty much like everything was on hold until we get through Thursday. I had a huge to do list piling up but my one and only task was to get through Thursday so that we could honor a man who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I was up at 5:30am on Thursday to get ready for Kenyon's funeral. We are so very fortunate that my Mother-in-law was able to come and take care of the kids and the midweek routine so that we could be on the road by 7:30am.

I myself have never been to a law enforcement funeral. I remember sitting at home and watching the service on television in 2009 for the four OPD members who were killed in the line of duty. I cried through the entire service as I'm sure so many did. While I had a good idea what to expect nothing could have prepared me for the amount of support that would be shown on Thursday to Kenyon to honor his sacrifice and his life.

As we headed out we ended up behind a Stanford Sheriff patrol car that we followed all the way up. Once we got on 80 the over passes were filled with Fire Fighters and Police staging for the procession that would come past. The Officers saluted every patrol car that passed by.

Shortly after we passed the staging area where the limos were lined up for the family. I was in tears already at all of this show of support and we weren't even there yet.

Traffic started to back up onto 80 as we all tried to make our way to The Mission. We were now behind a convey of patrol cars who all had their lights on in a show of respect, more tears. As we got closer we passed a side street that was filled with Highway Patrol cars lined up and ready to join the procession. I just was in awe, I have never in my life seen so many officers and patrol cars, it really just took my breath away. As we approached The Mission we saw this on our left side.

And this as we pulled into the parking lot.

Once we arrived we tried to find a spot to sit. Priority to inside seating was given to Contra Costa office employees and Golden Gate Division, the two areas that Kenyon worked. After that priority was given to allied agencies who had responded that day. We were lucky to find a spot and sat and watched in awe at the great distance that so many departments had traveled to pay their respects. There were officers from as far as Alaska and New York and everywhere in between. Every where I looked I was overwhelmed with emotion.

I was not expected to be so moved by Commissioner Farrow's eulogy. While I thought I had prepared myself as best I could for the emotions I would feel, nothing would have prepared me for Officer Tyler Carlton to get up and speak. I can't even begin to imagine what this man is going through. His courage and strength to get up and speak about his partner and share with us his feelings is beyond anything I can put into words. I hope he knows that he is a hero to all of us for his brave actions that day. The entire room gave him a standing ovation after he said goodbye to Kenyon.

There were so many great stories shared that day and they filled the room with laughter and tears. I think Chief Becher summed it up best when she said "I've never known how my heart could be so broken and so full at the same time." It was amazing to hear the stories of that fateful day and the countless people who came to his aid. An intensive care doctor who happened to be traveling in the other direction and made it over all 4 lanes of the freeway to come to his aid. This doctor would later become Kenyon's primary physician at John Muir Medical Center. All of the people who stopped to help and all of the first responders on scene that day made it possible for Kenyon's entire family to say goodbye as well as for his organs to be donated.

The most important thing that I pulled from Thursday was when Kenyon's oldest son, Alex got up to speak. Seeing and listening to him speak about his Father gave me this comfort that he is going to be okay and he is going to go on and do great things with his life.

At the conclusion the vast amounts of CHP and allied agencies lined up to salute and say their final goodbye's to a hero.

RIP Kenyon, we will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. *sniff*sniff* What I read from the speeches that day really touched me too. What a great way for the community to come together after such a tragedy.