I turned it all in … well except the badge; I kept that for sentimental reasons. As I emptied out the pockets of my uniform shirts and pants, tears welled up in my eyes. This was it; this would be the last time I would be having anything to do with my uniform. The memories that were trapped in the fibers of polyester flowed through my mind and filled me with a mixture of love, hate and numbness. I remember the first day I put that uniform on, those emotions were excitement, nervousness and hope.
I took my time folding them, sitting on the edge of our bed … crying into them. Holding them for the last time was like saying goodbye to a best friend. I clinged to those uniforms, hoping it would make this pain go away. Even though, rationally I knew it was that uniform that had caused me more pain than any other experience in my life thus far, I couldn’t help feel as though a part of me was dying at that very moment. It was in this emotional moment that I began second guessing myself. Had I just made the biggest mistake of my life? Had I just thrown away years of hard work for nothing? I stared at those uniforms like they would have the answers. They sat there, tear streaked, in silence.
I remembered my first meeting of Duck, my sit-up contest with Lowther and playing baseball with my nose with J. Porter. I giggled, through tears, at the thought of dumping that Dr. Pepper on Frosty’s computer keys and shortly after that having to call a 10-78 for big ol’ Adelaide Rose trying to squish me like a bug in the sally port.
I remembered the golf tournaments with Heather and our crazy drive through the canyon while she was pregnant. I remembered my time with Stimpson and breaking into to ICU to see Duck when he was sick. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to see Rizzi on a daily basis and knowing that she is my balance, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to move into a new career without her.
I remembered it all; I saw everyone’s face before me. Every important person in my life had come from this place, I grew up there! All of those mentioned in this book have a piece of me, and I take a piece of them with me, but I knew it would be different from this day forward.
I touched the Sergeant stripes that I had put so much work into. This was it, this would be last time I could call them mine, within the next hour they would be turned back in and I would go back to just Marcy Taylor. Truth be told, I’d been saying goodbye to Sgt. Taylor for sometime, but this was it. This was Sgt. Taylor’s funeral, this was her final moment, alone in a bedroom clinging onto dreams and feeling as though her hopes had been dashed.
Sgt. Taylor was a strong, witty, professional and a truly compassionate person. She never made choices with malice or based off perceptions. She wanted to know the truth of any situation and never made assumptions. She was and still is hard to say goodbye too.
I gathered the rest of my County equipment; radio, key card, belt, etc. I slowly placed them into a canvas bag. I fell to my knees in the middle of the kitchen, aching, alone and desperate for the pain to stop. How prophetic, this had been my whole career. Taking care of the county, investing myself into it and yet I still felt alone by it all. I sat cross-legged on my kitchen floor, staring at my past packed into a small bag. Being the negotiator I am, I slowly started talking myself into getting up and to remain strong and true to myself. I was fucking tired of remaining strong! Strong for who and what? Fuck it … I let myself go. I wailed! I cried so hard I think I scared my dogs. Hell, I scared myself. I finally allowed myself to feel bad for me. To have pity for myself, to let myself just be “weak”. Through tears, I fumbled for my keys. I blew my nose, wiped off my tears and gathered myself.
In the car, my past packed into a bag and sitting in the passenger seat and me driving we began our last drive to the Sheriff’s Office. Let the funeral procession commence.
It felt surreal. I listened to Tim Minchins “White Wine in the Sun.” Though he speaks of family, I couldn’t help but think that my future was waiting for me in the sun. That whatever life had in store for me it could be no worse than what I’ve been through.
I turned down 17th street and my heart began to race. I was afraid of my reaction to those around me or that I’d just lose it and cry and be unable to end this professionally. I parked, made sure I had everything. I looked in my rearview mirror, made sure I was presentable. All was in order.
Entering the building, for the last time with a key card was weird. I’ve had access to this building since it opened. After this moment I’d be an outsider, no longer privy to the all that I knew how to do.
The Chief wasn’t in his office, so I placed my County belongings on a chair in his office. I still wanted a copy of my personnel file so I went over to the enforcement Division. I waited approximately 15 minutes, with Lt. Taylor. It was hard not to break down and hug Taylor and cry like a baby with someone, but I knew I couldn’t. I just waited patiently.
Lt. Taylor told me that Stefani, the woman I needed to speak to about getting my file from, had left the Undersheriff’s office and was available to help me. I quickly got her attention, at the Undersheriff’s door. The Undersheriff and Sheriff looked up but said nothing too me. Nothing!! They had nothing to say, not even a go to hell. That, to this day, will be by far the hardest for me. Still makes me cry. To know I didn’t mean anything to them is heartbreaking. To think that I wasn’t worth any words from the Chief, Undersheriff or Sheriff. I suppose it solidifies my decision and I understand that they owe me nothing, but how hard is a good luck??
In silence, Stefani printed off my personnel file. Lowther and Pledger were the only people to say hello. Lowther was the only one to ask how I was doing. How fucking sad! 13 years and not one fucking Administrator cared how I was doing but Lowther. Thank you Lowther, you were my highlight of that day!
I searched out Rizzi and had a smoke with her. This would be the last break with her while at work, but lucky for me I see her every night. She makes my life perfect and I wouldn’t have quit if I had to leave her behind, she’s worth torture.
I got in my car, watched the same scene I’ve seen for 10 years. Deputies loading up in their cars, C/O’s at the smoke shack, public leaving the bond area … All so natural, but a scene that will no longer show her face to me.
Goodbye … I’ll miss you, love you and be proud of what you’ve allowed me to be.
The first shovel of dirt on her grave.
Goodbye to the characters I know as co-workers, goodbye to the adrenaline rushes and the boring times filled with good stories.
Second shovel of dirt.
And last, but not least, goodbye to Sgt. Taylor. I hope that all that knew her were proud to know her, proud to work with her and proud to call her friend. I know Sgt. Taylor would want you all to know that she loves you deeply. She’d want you know that, though she chose to end her career, it was simply too much for her to shoulder any longer, she has higher hopes for her talent. There may have been times she wasn’t the best Sgt. but she tried and would be willing to say she was wrong and fight for every single of her co-workers. She’d want you too know that she will not forget you, that each one of you have had an impact on her life, for good or bad.
Goodbye Sgt. Taylor, you’re an old friend to me, I’ll miss you….but know that Marcy will be a better person, a whole person, one who isn’t searching any longer. Marcy has been waiting in the sun for 13 years … so as I cover Sgt. Taylor’s grave with the last shovel of dirt, I rejoice in the birth of Marcy and what her life has in store for her ……