The PauseFirst Project
Mindfulness for First Responders
In 2014, Kim Colegrove lost her husband David to suicide. She created The PauseFirst Project to honor her husband’s memory, and to help other first responders cope with stress and trauma.
Special Agent David Colegrove, Ret
First responders are very well trained, but their training does not prepare them for the mental and emotional impact of the job.
Meditation and mindfulness are evidence-based practices that can help first responders manage stress and regulate emotion.
I had just finished hanging Christmas lights. Dinner was on the stove. Someone knocked, and as I walked toward the door, I could see a uniformed officer standing on my front porch.
It's impossible to explain the feelings that engulf you when you get that kind of news. Less than three months after retiring from a 30-year law enforcement career, my husband, Special Agent David Colegrove, had driven to the back of our neighborhood and shot himself. That single shot impacted everyone who knew David, and the waves of impact will echo forever.
The distance, time and space between me and that life-altering day have given rise to a realization about the people who responded to that call.
Looking back, I realize how horrible it must have been for the officer who came to my house, and the detective who accompanied him, and the off-duty firefighter who found my husband in his truck, and all the others who responded to the call — the first responders.
I realize this because my husband did that work. Prior to becoming a federal investigator, he was a cop for eight years. He went on horrific calls, he processed crime scenes, and he witnessed things so heinous he wouldn't speak of them. They all do. And it takes a toll.
Did the job kill my husband? No. Was it a contributor? Absolutely.
So, if there's something I can do to help First Responders manage their stress and find a bit of relief from this taxing and traumatic way of life, I want to do it. I have to do it. As a tribute to my husband and a thank you to these great people, I want to help.