"That I am strong, that I can survive. And come out hopefully a lot stronger," the widow of Harford County Sheriff's Office Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon said. Her husband, along with Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey, was killed in the line of duty Feb. 10.
That's why Logsdon is biking about 300 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., over four days in May on the Police Unity Tour.
The tour raises awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and raises money for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial and Museum.
Four months after what she calls "the incident," when DFC Logsdon, her husband of nearly seven years, and Senior Deputy Dailey were gunned down in Abingdon, the 2016 Police Unity Tour came through Harford County.
"It was very moving to me the amount of people who came out to show their support, to honor my husband," she said. "It's also a way of healing."
She could go out and scream, or drink – and she has, she said – but doing this ride and the training it requires is a healthy way to heal.
"It helps me physically, spiritually, mentally," she said. "There's a lot of bad I could do to try and heal, but I'm also hoping to be an inspiration to the kids, there's a good way to honor their dad."
It's also a way for Logsdon to give back to the people who have given so much to her and her family in the eight months since DFC Logsdon was killed.
Her late husband would probably tell her she's nuts, Logsdon said.
About 15 other riders, including deputies from the Sheriff's Office and officers from Aberdeen Police Department, will join her on the ride May 8-12, 2017.
They gathered with some supporters for a training ride Thursday at True Cycling Studio in Abingdon. While some of the riders go out on rides in groups, it was the first time the entire group was together.
While the ride isn't a race, Logsdon said during the class, she made sure she wasn't the last rider on the virtual screen.
"I'm doing this, I am. I am not a sissy. I'm proving a point," Logsdon said she kept telling herself during the hour-long class.
The group will leave Philadelphia May 8 and arrive in Washington, D.C., on May 12, when they'll join others of Police Unity Tour Chapter 9 and ride as a group to the Fallen Officers Memorial for the candlelight vigil.
Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, who will be doing the Police Unity Tour this year for the third time, organizes the local riders.
"Sacrifice, it's the whole point of it," he said. "It keeps Mark and Pat in our memory forever."
The team is holding fundraisers to raise $45,000 for the Police Unity Tour, which will ultimately go to the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial and Museum.
The first is a paint night Oct. 29 at Bill Bateman's in Havre de Grace, where local artist Shawn Forton will lead the group in painting an American flag.
On Dec. 11, Looney's will host a fundraiser from 2 to 8 p.m. In addition to a $20 donation at the door, 10 percent of sales that day will go to the riding group. The event will also include a basket bingo, live bands and 50/50 raffles.
She and her brother have always loved each other, but they never expressed it, she said. But when she went back to work full-time, he told her "You got this and I love you."
Logsdon also likes to think she's more positive.
"I'm also a stronger person, in the end, and I hope I can still be a role model for my kids," she said.
Grieving her husband
The last eight months have been a roller coaster for Logsdon. There are good days and bad.
Early on, she shut down.
"Mark worked in a department where never in a thousand years would I expect this. He dressed as McGruff for heaven's sake," Logsdon said of her husband's final assignment with Sheriff's Office's Community Services Division. "For him to have died was very shocking."
Some days, she didn't get out of bed. But if she stayed in bed one day, her family liaison was there the next to get her up.
She tried to go back to work in July, "but I wasn't ready yet, it was too soon."
She sat at her desk and what she was working on the day of the shooting came up on her computer. Everything was a reminder.
"It all came back, it was too much to remember that day," she said.
Logsdon took more time and returned to work full-time for Textron Systems in Hunt Valley on Sept. 14.
Her daughter, 19-year-old Megan Novak, a sophomore at the University of Miami, told her she didn't have to go back.
"But I did. I have to figure out what normal is, my new normal," Logsdon, who has her husband's badge number tattooed in a heart on the inside of her wrist, said.
It's all part of the healing, she said.
"Some people don't get it. They don't understand the magnitude of a law enforcement death compared to other people," she said.
She still has a hard time referring to the day her husband was killed.
"Some days it doesn't seem like it's real," she said.
There are constant reminders.
The training ride last week was in the shopping center across the street from where her husband was killed. She drove on the section of Route 924 named for DFC Logsdon and Senior Deputy Dailey.
And she works in the same place as the son of the man who killed her husband, David Brian Evans, 68, who was shot and killed by deputies in an exchange of gunfire.
"I'm not sure how that's going to go," she said.
But it was time to turn things around and make something positive for her kids.
"In my head, I almost have to wipe the slate clean and say, now it's me and the kids, how do we move on?" she said.
She's taken down most of DFC Logsdon's belongings in their house in Fallston, but there's still an area devoted to honoring him, she said.
"It's reality and you have to face it," she said.
The holidays are going to be hard, but she and her family will make new traditions "that can include Mark. He will be part of that."
Christmas leads into February, the first anniversary of the fatal shootings.
There are things that set her off, Logsdon said. Like when she comes home from work to an empty house and the dogs have made a mess.
"That sets me off and I think, why did this have to happen? I think, 'Ugh, I can't do it anymore," she said.
At the same time, she's trying to help the kids and help them get through their father's death.
"I'm trying to help everyone figure out what the new normal is. Do I stay here? Do I go? I'm trying to figure it all out," she said.
Fortunately, she said, she has the support of friends, family and the Sheriff's Office.
"They're here," she said. And the people close to her know when she's at her wit's end and they're willing to pitch in.