Home > Life > A knock at the door.

A knock at the door.

I have been thinking a lot about the unrest between civilians and law enforcement, my family’s own experiences with racism and the police, and the good people I know who serve in law enforcement. The recent murder of the two Brooklyn police officers confirm that things will get worse before they get better.

In the midst of trying to process what’s happening, I keep coming back to a specific memory from over 15 years ago. It was the first time I realized the police were human beings. When I was a teenager, I had distrust and bias against police because of my cousin, who is biracial, and his negative experiences. Looking at how Noah was treated put me on guard. Then when I was 17, my brother was killed by a drunk driver the week before Christmas. Since we’re at that time of year, this is part of the reason I keep thinking of that moment. During the shock of my brother’s sudden death, my family could care less about celebrating the holidays. We felt a distinct absence of things to celebrate. Our friends and family visited frequently, but as soon as the last guest left, the house was quiet with an empty sadness.

About two days before Christmas, I was in our quiet house with nothing to do but feel lost. I hadn’t been going to school because I could barely put on my socks. There was a knock at the door, and I figured it was another fruit basket or bouquet of flowers. I opened the door and there stood the two police officers that were at the scene of the crash that killed my brother. The two men stood on our front porch, holding upright between them a fully decorated Christmas tree. They told me and my parents they figured it would be too much to think about a tree, but they wanted us to have something nice.

Before that moment, I never saw an officer as a person. I certainly never thought a part of an officer’s duty or code of conduct was to reach out and comfort victims and their families. Really, I don’t know where I’m going with retelling this memory. I guess I’m just thinking that with each stupid, senseless death we experience, we have a chance to regain our humanity.

Categories: Life Tags: , , , , , ,
  1. December 24, 2014 at 12:23

    Yes, we all always have a chance. I remember that too. I was glad they felt to do that. It meant a lot to your parents.

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