CHICAGO 2018 was a devastating year for the Chicago Police Department, with four officers being killed in the line of duty.

WGN’s Ben Bradley followed up with the widow of the one of the officers who is using her experience with grief to give back.

Former Chicago police officer Eduardo Marmolejo was hit and killed by a train while searching for a shooting suspect in 2018.

Five months after that difficult day, the sound of sadness played again as the families of all four Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty in the previous year were honored with a sea of blue at a somber ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“There’s four of us without our husbands, without our best friends, without our father.  It’s a big deal to see these four families,” widow Maria Marmolejo said.

Marmalejo and her family have also been supported by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the 100 Club, which pay for early expenses and education, helping serve a constant reminder that they’re not alone.

“When you see those families, those children, other women going through the same thing.  It becomes a huge strength.  ‘I can do this, I can survive.’  Even when you feel like you can’t,” Marmalejo said.

Maria’s girls are now 6, 12 and 18 years old. Rebecca, who spoke so beautifully at her father’s funeral is now a freshman at Marquette.

Maria Marmolejo has decided to now work with the organization that helped her heal, serving as chairwoman of Gold Star Families for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

“You need support.  You need to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s what I hope to provide, to give to other families,” Marmalejo said.

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation does everything from presenting monthly awards for heroism to helping pay for bulletproof vests. The group gives out presents at Christmas to kids of officers severely injured or killed in the line of duty.

They’re also behind the permanent memorial just east of Soldier Field to the 582 Chicago police officers who have died in the line of duty.