In the hour of Robb's greatest need, our bedroom was filled with at least eight men. Police, firemen, paramedics. Heroes.
They escorted me from the room, and they went to every length to try to rescue my husband.
One of them came downstairs, amidst the frantic efforts. "Excuse me, ma'am, but I believe there may be a child awake upstairs."
Oh, God. It's Tyler.
I jumped from my chair. "My son - I'll get him."
With great authority, he pointed one finger at me. A forceful, "No. No, ma'am. Not you."
With my hand to my heart, I lowered myself back into the wooden, kitchen chair.
My mom said, "Let me. Someone must get that baby." I couldn't let him wander out into the hallway, awakened by foreign sounds, to find his daddy... to find his daddy.
"Yes, ma'am. You may go."
She quickly climbed the stairs to the bedrooms, and she tells me that if she had wanted to (which she did not), she could not have captured even a glimpse of the frenzy happening in my bedroom. Several men stood in the doorway, shoulder to shoulder, an impenetrable wall of blue. She retrieved a frightened Tyler, she carried him straight to me, and she never saw a second of the medical intervention. They simply would not let her.
As fervently as I prayed for Robb's life, I also prayed for Tucker to stay asleep. I knew I would have enough of a journey to help the boys through this loss that was not yet confirmed; I could not fathom the damage of any memories they would carry of the scene.
By God's grace, he stayed asleep. Until all was said and done, he slept soundly. But then we needed to wake him, to quickly send him home with a friend. I needed to grieve my husband. I needed to be fully wife, and as long as my children were in the house, I could only think as their mother.
Together, my parents went upstairs to wake Tuck and bring him down. And once again, they found the impenetrable wall of blue. There were no cracks in this fortress of men; they would not be moved.
Much later, after the coroner had arrived and confirmed the end of my husband's life, it was time to carry him from our home.
This time, the men stood between my kitchen and my living room, forming yet again that wall of blue. Shoulder to shoulder. Carrying a man's body from his home must be neither easy nor smooth, and they would allow no memory into my mind. With the same fierce authority as if someone were threatening us with a gun, these men stood their ground. There are some things a girl simply should never, ever see.
They protected my heart.
And as they left my home, each one of them came to me. Each one shook my hand, looked deeply and sincerely into my eyes, and tearfully said, "God bless you, ma'am. We did all we could do. I promise you, we did all we could do."
With their hands and their hearts, they did all they could do.
I wish I could remember their faces. They are my heroes.