One cold winter afternoon in 2009, I was patrolling in one of our neighborhoods and saw an elderly woman shoveling snow from her driveway. I went back to her house, introduced myself and helped her with her snow. She told me her name was Mrs. Bishop. In the few minutes that we spoke Mrs. Bishop told me all about her family and how important it was that she could access her newspaper from her mailbox every day. Mrs. Bishop and I learned that we both shared an addiction to watching and reading the news, among many other similar interests. With her permission, I continued to visit with her.
Over time, Mrs. Bishop and I would work on her lawn together. Sometimes my husband worked with us and we girls just talked or sometimes we sat at her dining room table to talk. She shared her stories about traveling all around the world and she taught me many lessons – the importance of loving your family, the importance of taking time out for yourself, and of always being kind to others. Mrs. Bishop called me her friend from the moment we met.
The last time I saw Mrs. Bishop was the night before a big snow storm. I stopped by before the end of my shift to tell her I would be over the following day to shovel her out. We talked about her trip to Spain and places I should visit on my upcoming trip there. We set a date to have pizza the next time we saw each other. Sadly, we lost Mrs. Bishop but her spirit remains with me.
Some people hate to hear the cliché everything happens for a reason but I believe that was the case the day we met. I was not working my shift. I was covering a few hours for one of my partners but “something” told me I had to stop and that same “something” told me that this person I was seeing for the first time would soon become my newest friend. See, in police training they teach you about topics like criminal law, tactical techniques, and emergency vehicle operations. They don’t teach you about this. They don’t teach you about the part of your job that ultimately makes you most proud; that moment when you make a connection with a citizen you will always call your friend. Mrs. Bishop made me smile every time she called me her friend and I will cherish our unexpected friendship for the rest of my life. In the last couple weeks as I have shared my story about Mrs. Bishop with my partners I’ve learned that almost all of us have had and lost a “Mrs. Bishop” in their professional lives. I have come to realize that our visits really had little to do with police work and everything to do with being an Auburn Hills police officer, a part of this community and its residents.
My dear friend may you rest in peace. Thank you for being so caring and always praying for my partners and me.