End of Watch


Alexander is 17.

His father, Officer Youngstrom of the California Highway Patrol, was shot in the head on Tuesday. He made a traffic stop in Walnut Creek. Just doing his job.

Maybe that morning, Alexander’s dad drove him to school. Maybe the night before, they had talked about who gets to use the car this weekend. As of 6:05 pm last night, Alexander’s life is forever changed. He’s only seventeen and he lost his dad.

17 weeks.

The countdown has begun. At the end of seventeen weeks, I can lay that fear aside. In seventeen short weeks, my husband turns in his star and his gun. Retirement. The uniform will hang lethargic in the closet. No more traffic stops. No more wrecks. And we will step around the thin blue line. But, there have been countless days that I have embraced the chance that I could be in Alexander’s shoes. Saying goodbye to a hero.

17 weeks.

I think of Alexander and his family and I hold my breath.

But prayers aren’t prayers unless they are exhaled. Breathed out. Spoken. So I force myself to breath and I pray.

17 prayers.

God, grant your peace.

May your presence reside around the Youngstrom family.

May the tears of Alexander’s mother be counted.

May the tears of her children water their hearts and bear the fruit of wisdom.

May Alexander know that his father is a hero.


God, grant your provision.

May the family feel the prayers and thoughts of all who hear.

May the arms of the community embrace Alexander and his siblings.

May Officer Youngstrom’s wife know that she is our sister.

May there be strength in unity.


May Officer Youngstrom’s brothers in tan, be granted the gift of grieving.

May we find compassion for the perpetrator and his family.

May God give us the grace to count each day.

May we never forget those who risk so much to serve us.

May we know gratitude.


God, we ask you for your Grace.

May you grant us the eyes to see.


End of watch. 

Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, after a valiant fight, succumbed to the injuries he sustained after being shot on Tuesday morning. Officer Youngstrom was a dedicated officer and soldier who gave his life serving the people of California. He now joins a distinguished group of heroes whose names are engraved upon the CHP Memorial Fountain and who will forever be remembered for their valiant service and sacrifice.

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