In 1958 I met a new friend who would be my buddy from second grade through high school graduation. No crushes, no warm fuzzies – just buddies. Fifty (yes, 5-0!) years later we ran into each other on the internet, had our first date in March 2008, and were married August 1, 2008.

Nobody was more surprised than me when it all happened. I never would have believed being happily married would be so simple!

Too often victims of spousal battery or domestic violence find themselves being blamed for the whole mess, or worse, blame themselves for what has become of their life. How often did voices in my head ask, “What did ‘I’ do to deserve this?” “How did ‘I’ get ‘myself’ into this mess?” Too often judgment is misplaced.

Don’t become an unnecessary statistic. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. KEEP THIS NUMBER HANDY: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

In her early 20s she was beaten in the head with a hammer, doused with kerosene and set ablaze. She shared how, with third-degree burns over 80% of her body, she prayed to God to live. That’s all she asked for… the chance to live and raise her two children. God heard her prayer and through sheer miracle, she survived.

I am almost sure, if we were to have listened just a bit closer, we’d have heard Jeff and Dave whisper as they were arriving at Heaven’s gates, “Thanks, guys. We’ll be standing watch from here now.” Rest in the arms of your Father, officers. “Well done, good and faithful servants.”