LIFE BEHIND THE BADGE: You Find Out Who Your Friends Are
September 9th, 2012 was a Sunday. The new football season was underway, children were back to school and my grandmother, at age 89, took her last breath in a nursing home in Alabama. It wasn’t anything dramatic; no great words of wisdom were shared before she passed. It was just a quiet peaceful passing on a Sunday afternoon.
Camilla Grignon was a fighter. She served her country as a United States Marine, stationed in Camp Pendleton in California, and Pearl Harbor in 1944. She followed her husband, who served as well in the United States Air Force, as they traveled from one country to another. And when the relationship ended, she raised three children alone while working for the federal government. She was remarried to a Menomonee Indian, but after years of alcoholism and lies, she had enough strength and courage to send him packing. So it was no surprise when doctors told us her health was failing and she wouldn’t be with us much longer…three years ago…and like a true Marine and woman, she fought a strong battle.
So it here it was, September 9th, and I was posting a beautiful picture of my grandmother, dressed in the trademark uniform of a Lady Leatherneck. I made the official announcement that my dad had just lost his mother and that my last living grandparent had taken her last breath here on Earth.
What I discovered next was astonishing to me, although as I write this I realize now that I should never have been surprised. One by one, messages of condolences began to fill my message box on Facebook. With a friend list of 313 people, both family and friends, I expected to see a lot of messages from family. But it was my law enforcement family that spoke up, not my biological family. People I have only met online showed their support while Marines of all ages spoke two words…Semper Fi. Once again my law enforcement family shared their love and took a moment out of their busy schedules to honor my grandmother. I feel closer to this group of people than my own aunts, uncles and cousins. It is this group of people, this thin blue family, that I cry with, laugh with, and share my life with. We get angry together, we grieve together and we rejoice together on a daily basis. We understand each other and we certainly know how to honor and pay our respects to someone who is no longer with us. I can easily say that it is this family that rarely disappoints.
Camilla Grignon will be honored in the near future with a military service and burial at Arlington Cemetery where she will be interred in her final resting place amongst thousands of heroes. Her family will be there to honor and celebrate her life but I will be thinking about the people who never knew her but shared their thoughts, their prayers and paid their last respects to my grandmother. It is all of you that make me proud to be a part of this law enforcement family and all I can say is “Thank you.”
Lindy Knapp was born and raised in Virginia and has been with her husband/deputy for 12 years. They have two toddler daughters. She and her husband met while studying law enforcement in college and went through the police academy together. After a year long chemo battle fighting malignant melanoma and then the birth of two children, Lindy has settled into her new and rewarding position as a wife behind the badge.
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