Photos by JOHN PENDYGRAFT

A fallen officer’s son decided to join the force. His mother prepared a special gift.

A fallen officer’s son decided to join the force. His mother prepared a special gift.

Two days before her son’s graduation, Teresa Kondek got a call from the jeweler. The engraving was ready.

She had waited so long to get the gift. Then, when she finally had it in her hands, she couldn’t look at it. She closed it into the glove box of her car and only took it out when she got to the store.

Even there, she didn’t take off the brown-paper wrapping. She just handed over the package, along with a note spelling out what she wanted etched in the metal.

She had struggled so hard for the right words.

She kept trying to channel her husband. He always knew what to say.

“He would have been so proud,” she told the jeweler. “I just wanted him, somehow, to be able to be there.”

Photos by JOHN PENDYGRAFT