Jessica 2016 mug.jpg

Last summer, my husband was offered an amazing opportunity to work for a company that paid well and had great benefits.

The only problem was that it was not local. It was in Midland.

We had just adopted our son the year before, so there were many pros and cons for us to consider.

The pros, of course, included the generous pay and benefits. It would also be a position he could get promoted every few years. They would even pay for his apartment and utility bills, and give him a per diem for all of his meals.

And then the cons included him being away all week, leaving me to care for our son by myself during the week. That’s getting him up and ready for school, taking him to football practice at 6:15 a.m., going to work until 5 p.m. — sometimes later if I have an evening event to cover — then helping with homework, making dinner, making sure he does his chores, getting his sports gear and school uniform ready for the next day and finally getting him to take a shower and into bed. Throw in any other errands I need to get done during the week such as grocery shopping.

But, I also worried about the safety of his job. He would be a field survey technician out in the oil field. There were many dangers to consider.

After much thought, we both agreed — even though we would all miss each other — that this was the best option for our family.

It has been one year since he began this new career and we were able to buy our first home in February. We have the financial freedom that we haven’t had in a long time.

He comes home on the weekends and we cherish every moment we get to spend together. It’s been tough not having my husband home every night, but we make it work.

Last weekend we were driving home from visiting his sister and we heard on the radio that there was an active shooter in Midland, my husband’s home away from home.

There were mixed reports at first, but ultimately it ended up being one man who went on a shooting spree after a state trooper attempted to pull him over on a traffic violation.

He killed seven people and injured more than 20, including a 17-month-old baby girl.

Police “eliminated the threat” by fatally shooting him at a nearby movie theater, one my husband goes to often.

All I could think about is what if he was there? What if he had a project that needed to be finished over the weekend? What if he was at that movie theater or driving through town when the shooter was there?

I watched live reports of police working the scenes. I heard reports from the hospital about how they were treating the patients of this mass casualty. Reports from the police chief. My heart, which is in Midland, felt broken.

The shooter, who had a criminal record, had been denied during his background check to buy a gun. So, he allegedly bought an AR-style rifle from someone. 

He was on a downward spiral. He lived in a shack with no running water or electricity. He got fired from his job. He was mentally unstable. He got pulled over. And then he snapped.

I’m so thankful my husband was home for the weekend when this happened, but when he went back to work two days later everything was different.

There is so much heartache there. So many lives have changed. His home away from home has become an unfamiliar place.

My heart, that has been in Midland for the past year, is broken. 

 

Features Reporter Jessica Pounds can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2333, or features@trcle.com.

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