Fallen officer's widow: 'It's like it was just yesterday'

Fallen officer's widow: 'It's like it was just yesterday'
SEATTLE -- A year ago Sunday, Seattle Police Officer Tim Brenton was shot to death sitting in his patrol car in the city's Leschi neighborhood.

"It's almost a year now, and it's like it was just yesterday," said his widow, Lisa Brenton.

The widow was devastated and grief-stricken when she suddenly lost her husband last year.

"When your husband is taken away from you like that, your carpet is ripped out from underneath you. Tim and I were best friends. We were married for 14 years. Had a great marriage," she said.

For months, it was all Lisa could do to get out of bed and take care of her children. It was as if the same day kept repeating itself.

"I had to really reach out there and say, 'I'm not doing well. What you see on TV and public is not what's going on in real life,'" she said.

Lisa says medication and intense therapy got her through the darkest days. But much of it, especially those public events, remain a blur.

"I don't remember half of them. I still have no memory of half the things I went to. I just did," she said. "There is no script on how you are suppose to handle your husband being murdered publicly."

But love saved her.

"If you would have told me three weeks after Tim was killed, I would be sitting here in a better place, having some happiness in my life finally, I wouldn't have believed it, not believed it!" said Lisa. "We're definitely doing a ton better."

In June, an angel named Tina Lyons arrived.

"June was the beginning of me climbing out," Lisa said.

Lyons moved from California to Marysville, Wash. and took a year off her job in order to take care of Lisa, an old friend.

"It was the thing to do," Lyons said. "She asked. She needed it, and I came."

The two met in middle school and became friends for life.

Now Lisa is laughing again, thanks to her friends, who has also been good for Lisa's kids.

"They're OK. Kaylee is 12, in middle school. Tim was killed the day after her first middle school dance, so he never got to hear about that," said Lisa. The young horse lover is already talking about wanting to join Seattle's Mounted Police Patrol when she grows up.

And 9-year-old Quinn Brenton knows he wants to be a SWAT officer.

"So if that's what Quinn wants to do and is happy doing it, and even if, God forbid.,m he dies doing it, as long as he's happy doing it, then I"ll be happy," his mother said.

Timothy Brenton always spent Halloween with his kids. But he insisted he couldn't cancel on his training student, Officer Britt Sweeney, that night. He thought that would be irresponsible.

Photos of him taken at a pumpkin patch are the last images the family captured.

"He said, 'I'm sorry.' I said, OK.' He said, 'We'll talk about it in the morning.' I said, 'OK, I love you. I love you. Good night.' That was it," Lisa said.

Tim died that night. Grazed by a bullet, Sweeney survived. Lisa says her husband would have wanted it this way.

"He would have felt it was his duty. He was the training officer. If something would have happened to her, he would have absolutely felt responsible and he would have never have gotten over that, never, never," she said. "Given the choice to die, this is how he would have done it. I have absolutely no question about that in my mind."

Lisa says she was shocked to find out her husband had meant so much to so many others.

"When I walked into Key Arena and I looked around - I'd never been in a concert before, so I'd never seen anything like it - I was thinking, 'Holy Toledo, I cannot believe how many people are here for Tim. And he would have been honored, exceptionally honored.' That helps a ton," she said.

Now another memorial will honor the fallen officer. A memorial wall will be unveiled on Halloween in the Leschi neighborhood where Tim was executed.

"This is a way I can say thank you, take kids down where Tim has patrolled there for the last 10 years. I want to show them we're very thankful for what they're doing for Tim and for us," said Lisa.

Kaylee and Quinn plan on trick-or-treating there, too.

"It was really important for me to be there and be at the place where he died at that time. I'm just not sure how that's going to play out," Lisa said.

Lisa says she's grateful - for her friends and family, as well as the unexpected supporters, like the woman who made keepsake totes out of Tim's uniforms. And the financial support has been a lifesaver.

But nothing has come close to replacing her beloved.

"Money is nothing. I would give everything back to have Tim back, to have the kid's dad back," said Lisa.

Instead, she intends to hold accused cop killer Christopher Monfort accountable.