Elizabeth Snyder's social media accounts are packed with pictures of her with her husband, Blake, and their little boy, Malachi, smiling and having fun together. But last week, Snyder posted a much different family photo on Facebook of herself with a sleeping Malachi, her face contorted by grief: her husband, a four-year veteran of the St. Louis police force and just 33 years old, was shot and killed on October 6 while responding to a call.
Snyder's Facebook post has since gone viral, with 97,000 likes on Facebook and over 20,000 comments.
"It's been ten days... ten days since my heart was ripped from my chest," Snyder wrote of her husband's death. "Ten days since my other half was taken from me. This pain that hasn't subsided, that hasn't alleviated, is unbearable and unending."
In the picture, Snyder is lying in bed, her arm wrapped around Malachi, 2, with her chin on his head, her eyes squeezed shut. "But this child here — he has been the hope in my heartache," Snyder wrote. "He is the reason I get up each day. The reason I keep it together as best I can. The reason I push through."
When her husband was laid to rest on October 13, thousands mourned with Snyder and her family — many of whom are also police officers, including her brother, Justin Sparks. Sparks was the one who had to tell Snyder that her husband had been shot and who drove her to the hospital where Blake Snyder died, according to an interview that he and Snyder gave to the St. Louis NBC affiliate station.
Snyder is grateful for a community that will help her little boy know the father he will not have as he grows up. "Although this suffering seems never ending, the outpouring of love and support from the St. Louis community (and all over the nation) has been overwhelming," wrote Snyder on her Facebook page. "My heart is blessed and ever thankful for each and every one of you. Your love and kindness has helped in more ways than I can describe and I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because of you, Malachi will ALWAYS know who his father was. Blake will never be forgotten, and Malachi will truly know how much the community loves him and cared for him."
And it is Malachi who is Snyder's comfort even in her profound grief, she wrote. "Malachi has been more cuddly and more attached than ever before and I couldn't be more thankful for it. Because I need it right now," she wrote on Facebook. "Even taking a picture feels unnatural and unreal. But I had to record just how much he means to me and how he is able to keep me going. He is my peace and my anchor during this devastating storm."