MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA)- It was a conversation a mother should never have to endure.
“How is it even fair that I have to be the one to break this news to my girls? How is it even fair that I have to be the one to just crush their hearts,” said Amber Oberheim.
Explaining to her girls the new life they would be living without their hero, father and best friend.
Oberheim has been nominated as one of WCIA 3’s Remarkable Women.
She attributes her healing to God and the officers who have been champions in her husband’s absence.
“God will make good out of every situation, and that’s what I feel like He’s doing,” said Oberheim.
In the middle of the night, Oberheim got a knock on the door. Behind, an officer told Amber that her husband, officer Chris Oberheim, had been shot. “I remember just putting my hands over my knees and kind of bending over and just breathing because I thought, I thought I might topple over,” said Oberheim.
Shortly after heading to the hospital, she found out the neurosurgeon was unable to save him. “I was watching everyone around me feel, and react, and I couldn’t feel or react,” said Oberheim.
As messages flooded her inbox, telling her four daughters was the priority. “Those 10 to 20 minutes after I told them what had happened were probably the most awful 10 to 20 mins to listen to as a mother,” said Oberheim.
A few days later, still numb, Amber received hundreds more messages. This time about a story WCIA 3 did about her husband’s killer. “I didn’t get nearly as angry about it as what felt like the world around me,” said Oberheim.
After prayer and consideration, she wondered, what would Chris do? “This is not just about Amber Oberheim having some massive forgiveness about a mistake at the station. It’s about Amber Oberheim realizing it’s not about her, and trusting God to make good out of the situation,” said Oberheim.
So, to facilitate the greatest impact, she decided to bring light to the reality officers face every day on the job. “If this opportunity wasn’t there, I don’t think that our community and just central Illinois as a whole would have the same experience of how much people love our police officers,” said Oberheim.
And she wants to give credit to the officers who got her and her girls through their darkest days. “I know these are the men who will walk my daughter down the aisle and go to high school graduation when Chris can’t,” said Oberheim.
Amber’s mission now? Advocating for police officers, police wives, being there for families who also have gone through the unthinkable and finishing out the task God has set in front of her.
She says as difficult as this time she has been, she is thankful for the way it happened, because the community supported her in ways she did not think possible.
She says she is pleased with the way WCIA 3 responded in the weeks after the controversial story aired. Amber arranged to have some of WCIA’s staff go through police simulator training at the Public Safety Training Foundation in Decatur. Her goal was to give the local journalists a greater perspective on what police officers deal with while enforcing the law.