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True Love Has No Limit: The Eulogy of Officer Jonathan Diller

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2024 3:02 am

True Love Has No Limit: The Eulogy of Officer Jonathan Diller

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 16, 2024 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, "My husband died a hero, but he also lived as one." Stephanie Diller remembers her husband Jonathan as a connector and friend of all. Hear about his honesty and courage as a man, a father, and a police officer.

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I'm Katja Adler, host of The Global Story. Over the last 25 years I've covered conflicts in the Middle East, political and economic crises in Europe, drug cartels in Mexico. Now I'm covering the stories behind the news all over the world in conversation with those who break it. Join me Monday to Friday to find out what's happening, why and what it all means.

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Get lucky today at And we continue with our American stories. It's National Police Week all week long across the country. People across this country honoring those who paid the ultimate price as cops, or law enforcement of any kind. Up next, a story about one of those officers. On March 25th, 2024, Jonathan Diller and his partner were investigating an illegally parked SUV in the Far Rockaway section of Queens when a 34-year-old with a long rap sheet pulled out a gun and opened fire at the officers. Diller was hit just below his bulletproof chest.

He was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, but his wounds were too severe. He was the first NYPD cop to lose his life in two years. There were several speakers at his funeral, none more moving than his wife Stephanie, who stood at the podium alongside her one-year-old son Ryan at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa Park. She didn't talk about how he died, but how her husband lived, and who he was. I am not sure where to start, and I could probably talk about Jonathan for hours, so I'll start from the beginning.

Jonathan was born and raised on Long Island, the son of Fran and Steven Diller, and brother to Jennifer and Jason. He was the youngest of three, which obviously means he was the mischievous one, but he also had the sweetest heart and the guiltiest conscience, so he would always smooth things over by making his mom hand-written apology letters. He grew up taking memorable ski trips with his family, playing lacrosse and hockey, and forming friendships that would last a lifetime. He was a connector, the kind of guy that would draw people in and could find something in common with everyone, a friend to everyone. Following graduating from St. Mary's High School, he attended SUNY Maritime, where he lived with his cousin Robert. He loved telling stories of traveling all over the world in the ship, seeing beautiful places, and making amazing memories. After graduation, Jonathan and I started dating after getting set up by our mutual friend Evan.

I remember on one of our very first dates, we went to see a movie. He was so tired from work that he fell asleep in the movie theater. He started snoring so loudly that the people around us asked me to wake him up.

But of course, if you ever asked him the story, I'm the one who fell asleep, started snoring, and embarrassed him. It didn't take long for me to realize how special he was. He loved to make everyone laugh, and he had the most infectious personality. When you talk to him, he really listened, and he made me feel like I was the only person in the room.

Early on in our relationship, Jonathan's job required him to be away for a month at a time. He was really proud of his work driving ships, and he made sure to send emails letting me know that he was always thinking of me. We must have exchanged over 100 emails through the years that I will forever cherish. I would excitedly wake up the emails from him with hilarious subject lines such as, Jonathan Diller is a stud, and sweet messages like, I'm going to spoil the heck out of you when I get home, and I'll be home before you know it.

You're going to blink, and I'll be in front of you giving you a big kiss. I quickly knew I found the person I was going to marry. I never doubted how much Jonathan loved me because he always told me. He was absolutely my soulmate, and we could just understand each other with a look. Any time I entered a room, I looked for him and knew that the place I belong was the spot next to him. He could always make me laugh, and that was one of the things I loved most about him.

He would make an absolute fool of himself just to get me to crack a smile. We had a connection that not many people get to experience in their lifetime. In November of 2019, after our wedding, I remember being so nervous to walk at our wedding.

I remember being so nervous to walk down the aisle in front of so many people. But as soon as the church doors opened, I saw him look at me. I realized how lucky I was. He looked at me like I was his whole world, and he always treated me like I was his whole world. Together, we lived a very simple life in Massapequa. We worked hard. We relaxed at home when we could, and we got the cutest dog in the world, Tucker. We did everything together, and I really mean that. We were best friends. He would call us Batman and Robin, but he said I was Batman and that he was Robin.

When I would meet people, I would say, if you like me, just wait until you meet my husband. He worked for his family's company before deciding to become a police officer in 2021. Everyone was so proud that he found something that he loved to do, and he was exceptional at it. He would go in early, stay late, work overtime, all because he just loved it. It's no surprise he was an incredible police officer when you think about the type of man he was. He was always putting people above himself, dropping everything to help someone in need, and speaking up for what was right. He was a fierce protector of everyone around him. He spoke his mind and wasn't afraid.

I always admired him for his honesty and courage. He was my absolute greatest confidant, but nothing compared to his best role of all, being a dad. Jonathan always wanted to be a dad, and he wasted no time being the greatest one. I will never forget the look on his face when our son was born.

I don't think we could ever achieve a greater happiness. He was so proud of Ryan. Every time he did something new, it was like an explosion of joy from both of us. Jonathan wanted nothing more than to show Ryan off to everyone and everyone he knew. He was excited that Ryan's first word was dada, and I remember I would playfully try to get him to say mama instead. But now I never want to stop hearing Ryan say dada to me. I couldn't have asked for a better partner to have a child with than Jonathan.

We were a team. He would always kiss and hug me in front of Ryan and said that he wanted Ryan to see his dad loves his mommy so much. And then we would pick him up between the two of us and smush his cheeks with kisses together. When you fall in love with someone, you think you can't possibly love them any more than you do right now. But then you get married, and you think, okay, now there's no way I can love them anymore. And then you have a child with them, and guess what?

You love them even more. Jonathan told me that true love has no limit. Our lives were pretty much perfect until five days ago when everything changed forever. He was cold into duty, and in typical Jonathan fashion, he didn't run away. He did what was right, and he did what he loved. He wasn't the type to sugarcoat anything, so I won't sugarcoat this. This is devastating. It's a devastating, senseless, and tragic loss for so many, our family, our friends, and the entire city of New York.

It's a shame that someone who brought so much positivity to the world was given such a negative ending. There was so much he was looking forward to, like watching his siblings build a life with their spouses, seeing his friends become fathers, and watching his son grow. It breaks my heart that Ryan was robbed of getting to know his, to grow up with his dad. Jonathan had so many things he wanted to teach him, like how to play ice hockey, how to drive a car, ride a bike, to watch Ryan go to his first day of school and watch him graduate on his last. I am eternally grateful that Jonathan made me Ryan's mother. If I am missing him, I can look to Ryan to feel close to him, because his son is just like him, always making people smile. And I promise to raise him to be even more like his dad. It's hard to imagine how long I have to wait to see Jonathan again. When the doors to heaven open for me one day, I hope to see Jonathan standing there looking at me, just like he did on our wedding day. My husband died a hero, but he also lived as one. Our world will never be the same, but I know I speak for everyone when I say I could not be more proud of him. It's been two years and two months since Detective Rivera and Detective Mora made the ultimate sacrifice, just like my husband, Jonathan Diller.

Dominique Rivera stood in front of all the electric officials present today pleading for change. That change never came, and now my son will grow up without his father. I will grow old without my husband, and his parents have to say goodbye to their child. How many more police officers and how many more families need to make the ultimate sacrifice before we start protecting them?

I don't wish this kind of pain on anyone. Jonathan lived his life doing good for people, and it's now time for people to do good for all the officers he represents, which reminds me, to all his friends in the 105, CRT, and the boys, he wanted me to say I love you. Jonathan, Ryan and I don't know how we're going to live without you, but I am so amazingly grateful for every single moment we had with you.

Rest in peace, Jonathan, the man who captured my heart, and now all of New York's. Heartbreaking words by Stephanie Diller, and yet the pride in her husband and how he lived. Stephanie Diller's words were a stark reminder that the men and women serving to protect us across this country, the 700,000 cops, sheriffs, and federal agents are overwhelmingly good people.

Good people who go to work each day to protect and serve, and sometimes never come home. This is our American stories. This is Uncanny USA. He says somebody's in the house, and I screamed. Listen to Uncanny USA wherever you get your BBC podcasts, if you dare.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-16 04:32:37 / 2024-05-16 04:37:49 / 5

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