After hearing of the death of a retired Omaha Police Officer, Keith Thompson, I am reminded of the times I saw him with his wife at therapy in Immanuel Hospital Therapy/Water Therapy Department. He was injured as a very young officer; a car accident, a stolen Jeep with a juvenile driving t-boned his patrol car. His partner was injured, Office Thompson nearly lost his life.
He was paralyzed from the waist down, and he had the same rehab doctor I had. I saw him with his wife at the warm water pool, she helped him try to do his exercises in the water. Once, he got his foot to move, and she was excited, she leaned in and kissed him. I was so touched by that. Small victories helped, I imagine.
This happened probably at least 25 years ago. I lost track of his progress; I remember when he went back to work, he had a desk job, and retired after a 30 year career with the OPD. We were lucky to have him protecting and serving. I did not know he and his wife divorced 15 years ago. Life like theirs had to be difficult. There had to be depression, no matter how much you worked to rise above it. I’m so sorry for that part of their life. I am deeply sorry suicide was the cause of death.
They had twin boys later, and already had a little boy when I used to see him, in his wheel chair, racing the little boy to the therapy wing. It was so sweet, and made me be in awe of his attitude and zest for life and getting better.
Whatever happened after he retired in the last couple years must have become too much for him. His ex-wife and three sons were on the news last night, during National Suicide Awareness Month, they wanted to tell their story, their heartache. They had no idea Keith had such problems he couldn’t talk with someone. I’m so sad he felt so alone, that no one could help him. He always seemed so positive in interviews, etc. over the years.
After one of those warm water therapy sessions years ago, Mrs. Thompson took Keith to a family dressing room, dressed him, and set him in the hall in his wheelchair while she hurriedly took a shower and dressed. I told her the citizens of Omaha were with her, and that I personally prayed for them every day. She thanked me, then hurried to take her husband home.
And now, to the former Mrs. Thompson and her full grown sons: I am still praying for all of you. And for him. And I’m so deeply sorry for all of you. I’m sorry he gave up, but in a way I understand. And I still admire how long and hard he worked to get better. I hope you still know how Omaha appreciated his 30 years of service to it’s citizens. Prayers, love, and hugs.