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Widow helps create guidebook for law enforcement families grieving a loss

Amy Moden lived through the nightmare of losing her law enforcement spouse. She wants to help future families navigate the process more easily.

COLORADO, USA — Two years ago, Amy Moden’s whole life turned upside down.

Her husband was working the night of June 14, 2019. Trooper William Moden was investigating a crash along I-70 in Arapahoe County when another driver struck and killed him.

Instantly, his wife of 12 years found herself not just widowed, but thrust into an entirely new life.

“From that moment I had to learn that my life was going to be different,” Amy Moden remembers. “Not only because I lost my partner, my best friend, the love of my life, and my soulmate – but the way I lost him changed everything. And it changed me.”

Credit: KUSA
Trooper William Moden

Moden was suddenly funeral planning, organizing death benefits, and managing a long list of other tasks involving detailed, financial documents, accounts and more. While she is quick to credit the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation for their assistance and comfort, Moden said the process was still devastating and overwhelming.

It also made her a sort of expert, unwilling as she was, in how the process worked and what could make it easier.

“I have tried to take my pain and heartbreak and channel it into something more that I could give back,” Moden said.

Moden found one way she could help other widows and family members of fallen officers navigate the process a little more easily. She teamed up with the Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation, state troopers, and other law enforcement widows to create a “Benefit Guide” for families and departments after a line of duty death.

“To be able to have something to go to, as a checklist, as a timeline,” she explained. “Or just some helpful suggestions of – What do I need to keep? How do I do this workman's compensation? Who takes care of this paperwork, me or my agency?”

The guide also includes a list of vetted professionals to help families with finances, legal questions, or mental health. It was published online in February, and Moden said it’s available to anyone or any department that needs it.

Since it was published, there have been additional officers killed on duty, including Boulder Officer Eric Talley in March and Arvada Officer Gordon Beesley this week.

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“The fact that [the guide] exists now and there’s a need for it, breaks my heart. But I’m so glad there’s something there because it’s going to help save so much time, so much emotional energy for a widow or widower or agency,” Moden said. “That is all I care about – how can I help, pay it forward, give back the kindness and love and support that was given to me. This was a way I knew I could do something.”

Moden remembers her husband as “larger than life,” a man beloved by his friends and family.

“He gave himself selflessly in every aspect of his life, not just with the job that he did but at home, too,” she said.

She works everyday on her health and her heart. Grief is an ongoing process. 

Beyond the benefit guide, Moden also joined other law enforcement families who advocated for stronger “Move Over” laws in Colorado to protect first responders. And in July, she’ll join a group honoring fallen officers as they tour the country sharing their stories, and meeting with other grieving law enforcement families and departments.

“I’m very proud to have the opportunity, through my loss, to be there for other people… Proud to have opportunity to make an impact on someone else’s life that’s hurting. That’s all I’m focused on – how can I be there for someone else,” she said.

“I just don’t want someone to think they’re walking alone, because they’re not. There are so many of us that are walking it.”