It was a heartbreaking and highly personal eulogy heard by thousands of people in person in New York City as well as scores more on video and audio — a eulogy that will be long discussed as well as re-read and re-watched in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Dominique Luzuriaga Rivera, the widow of fallen NYPD Detective Jason Rivera, gave an emotional eulogy for her husband on Friday morning during his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral in midtown Manhattan.
The couple met as children in elementary school.
Jason Rivera, 22, and his partner, Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, were fatally wounded when a gunman ambushed the two police officers as they were responding to a family dispute last week. Officer Rivera was posthumously promoted to detective first grade.
Here is the full text of Dominque Luzuriaga Rivera's speech as delivered on Friday.
I would say good morning to you all. But in fact this is the worst morning ever.
I can’t believe I’m standing in front of thousands of people in the cathedral we planned to visit later this year. All of this seems so unreal. Like I’m having one of those nightmares that you'd never thought you’d have.
Friday morning, we were together eating breakfast and drinking some Starbucks. Eating was probably our favorite hobby. Maybe that’s why we gained those extra pounds.
Friday morning began just like every other morning before work. You were always my big spoon, watching Netflix, YouTube law enforcement shorts, read me your emails, and wait for your mom to come home. You packed your book bag because we had to leave before 2 and really, before 2 sharp because of your ICO sergeant.
You would drive me home and say goodbye with three kisses, all the time, and texted me when you were eighty-four. That was our routine. At around 15:00, 15:15, I received a BRB roll-call text, and throughout our day you told me about your jobs until it was EOT.
This Friday was different. We had an argument. You know, it’s hard being a cop’s wife sometimes. It’s hard being patient when plans were canceled or we would go days without seeing each other or when you had to write a report that would take forever because you’d have to voucher so many things, so you did OT. Or when you had a bad day at work because an EDP drove you nuts.
But you always reminded me that it was going to be all right. We were going to get through it.
This Friday, we were arguing because I didn’t want you to use your job phone while we were together. You were so mad that you took your LeBron jersey down, gave me your chain, and put the lotions I gave you for your ashy hands in the bag and said, "Here, take them."
We left your apartment and because I didn’t want to continue to argue, I ordered an Uber. You asked me if you are sure "that you don’t want me to take you home, it might be the last ride I give you."
I said no and that was probably the biggest mistake I ever made.
"You always reminded me that it was going to be all right. We were going to get through it."
Later that day, I received the call I wish none of you that are sitting here with me will ever receive. I had gotten a notification from the Citizen app, which was my central. And I saw that two police officers were shot in Harlem.
My heart dropped.
I immediately texted you and asked you, "Are you okay? Please tell me you’re okay. I know that you’re mad right now but just text me, you’re okay, at least tell me you’re busy."
I get no response.
We used to share locations on Find My iPhone and when I checked yours, I see that you’re at Harlem Hospital. I thought maybe you were sitting on a perp but still, nothing.
I called and then called again and then called one more time. And this time, I felt something wasn’t right.
I messaged PO [David] and Joe because I know they were your friends from the 32 and I get no response. Then I get a call asking if I’m Jason’s wife. And then I had to rush to the hospital.
Walking all those steps seeing everybody staring at me was the scariest moment I’ve experienced. Nobody was telling me anything. Dozens of people were surrounding me and yet I felt alone.
I couldn’t believe you left me. Seeing you in a hospital bed wrapped up in sheets, not hearing you when I was talking to you broke me.
I asked why. I said to you, "Wake up, baby. I’m here."
The little bit of hope I had that you would come back to life just to say goodbye or say "I love you" one more time had left. I was lost. I’m still lost. Today I’m still in this nightmare that I wish I never had, full of rage and anger, hurt and sad. Torn.
Although I gained thousands of blue brothers and sisters, I’m the loneliest without you. I know you’re looking at me and beside me telling me I can do this.
And I’m trying, trust me I am. I didn’t prepare for this. None of us did.
Jason and I met in elementary school. All the way up to eighth grade, we had the time of our lives. He was part of the cool kids' crew. There was never a dull moment with him around. He was the class clown, got me in trouble a couple of times, had our teachers sit us away from each other because we couldn’t focus.
We never thought that our innocent childhood love would lead us to marriage.
Even when we said "I do," we couldn’t believe we said it. October 9 was the happiest day of our lives. I know I drove you crazy saying "I love you" so many times that you would stop replying, "I love you more."
But you made me feel alive. You make me feel alive.
Jason is so happy right now that all of you are here. Through pain and sorrow, this is exactly how he would have wanted to be remembered. Like a true hero. Or like I used to call him, Big PO Rivera.
You have the whole nation on gridlock. And although you won’t be here anymore, I want you to live through me.
The system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore, not even the members of the service.
I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA.
I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.
I’m sure all of our blue family is tired too, but I promise — we promise — that your death won’t be in vain.
I love you until the end of time. We’ll take the watch from here.