Make space

Just before 5pm, I threw my car in park. This might not sound strange except that I was on the on-ramp to I95. After sitting for at least five minutes, I decided to step out of my car and see what was going on.

Cop cars were blocking the ramp… and I95 Northbound looked like a ghost town. Not a single car was headed North. A few other people began to step out of their cars to satisfy their curiosity.

Was the president in town? Who else would have I95 blocked at rush hour? I stood behind the cement wall looking for any movement. And then in the far distance, coming from the South, I saw flashing lights.

My anticipation for action quickly faded into the sober realization of what was unfolding in front of my eyes. It was the funeral procession for Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger. My heart sank.

Click to play

After the motorcade of an entire special forces community passed, I drove the rest of the way in silence. I didn’t want the radio on. I didn’t want to listen to my audiobook. Despite the beautiful weather, the air was heavy — as was my heart.

Suddenly, from the recesses of my brain, a text message I had gotten on the anniversary of Dad’s passing came to mind.

Hey girl, I just wanted you to know I’m making space in my heart for you and your family today.”

Having received this from my friend who’d lost her dad unexpectedly just five months before me, meant a lot.

There was something about those two words: making space that comforted me. This friend knew that grief carves out space no one wants, yet its unwelcomed presence persists while everyone else’s lives seem normal.

Today, a lot of Broward County residence made physical space on I95 for two heroes to receive Presidential treatment. But, I want to make more than just physical space for them. I want to make space on this page for them — they deserve it.

I would have loved to meet Daniel and Laura. To hear about their work, their families and what made them want to serve our country by helping to save children from disturbed women and men.

I hurt for their family members who I’m sure got home tonight and no matter how full their house might be— it feels empty. I hurt because I know over the next few months/years they will want to tell their loved one about their day and how hard this season is… without them. To Daniel & Laura’s family, know that I am praying for you, and today…

I am making space for Daniel and Laura. I will make space by telling those still here how much they mean to me.

I hope today, in honor of Daniel and Laura, you will also Make Space.

END OF WATCH // 02•02•2021