The memorial service was scheduled for Monday, the day before Shelby was coming over for dinner. Mrs. Stockton remembered going to Marty’s funeral. Police officers from all over the state came to pay their respects. Jenny was surrounded by the other officer’s wives and given any help she needed. They were so helpful that Mrs. Stockton almost felt out of place. She had received many offers from the Mothers of Fallen Officers groups, but Walter was convinced that they didn’t need any help from anyone and that they would deal with their son’s death on their own.
Mrs. Stockton wondered if she had taken the support that was offered, if she would be at a better place with what happened. Their family supported them, but the members of the support group had actually been through it. They had lost a son. Their family had not.
Since Mrs. Edwards was being surrounded by the officer family support team. Maybe she could help his Mom? Mrs. Stockton knew she needed to get out of the house more and maybe this would be a way to do it. How should she approach her? She didn’t want to intrude on their grieving. Maybe she would go to the service and hand her a note with her information to call her.
She made a cup of tea and turned on her computer. She waited for the word processor icon to appear, double clicked on it and opened a blank document. There were so many feelings coming to her right now, she really didn’t know where to start. She decided to just start typing,
Thinking of you, knowing how you feel…
I lost my own son, Marty Stockton, in the line of duty. He was shot by a kid who was in possession of drugs and didn’t want to get found with them. He will be in jail for the rest of his life and my Grandson will be without a Dad.
Your Grandchildren will have be with their Dad at the cemetery now, but they will have memories of him in their hearts. Tell them to always remember the man that their Dad was with them outside of his job.
If you ever need to talk about how you feel, please feel free to call me. I wish that I would have talked to someone when I was going through it. I realize now how much it may have helped me.
She included her address and phone number in the lower right hand corner of the note. She printed, signed and placed it in a pale peach envelope that she had left over from a mailer the church ladies sent out recently. Along with the letter, she included a $20 bill to add to the family’s fund. They were having a visitation later today in Wooddale, so Mrs. Stockton got ready and headed down to the funeral home.
The family wanted to share the grieving with the community in which he served, but the funeral and burial would be held in his home town of Rockland, Virginia at a later date. There were only a couple places left in the parking lot at Wilson’s Funeral Home, even though she had gotten there a half hour before the visitation was scheduled to start. She was hoping to get a little time alone with the parents before everyone else got here.
She walked in the door and was greeted by a young man dressed in a navy blue suit,
“Welcome to my Dad’s memorial, my name is Jack,” he said as he reached his hand out to shake hers.
How lucky was that? Mrs. Stockton thought. She would be able to get directed right to who she needed to talk to. Mrs. Stockton thought that may have more to offer to Dan’s Mom than to his Mother-in-Law for support.
“I’m Shirley Stockton,” she replied, “is your Dad’s Mom here? I would like to have a word with her.”
“Sure. She’s over by the guest book in the corner of the room. Just so you know, the service will start at 7:30 PM, but please feel free to have refreshments before that if you would like to.”
“Thanks Jack. And I’m so sorry about the loss of your Dad.”
“Thank you. He was doing what he loved to do when he died. The guy that killed him is the one that needs to be sorry for what he did.”
“Do you think that he is?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“He said that he would do it again to protect his own skin, so I don’t think so.”
“That’s terrible,” Mrs. Stockton replied, “just remember your Dad with the good memories you have of him.”
“Thank you. I will.”
He smiled at her as she walked into the chapel and he continued to greet the guests. Mrs. Stockton walked over towards the guest book.
“Welcome. I’m Denise Edwards, Dan’s Mom. And you are?”
“My name is Shirley Stockton,” she replied shaking the hand that Denise offered to her, “I came here today to give you this envelope. It is my contact information. My son was killed in the line of duty about twelve years ago.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss,” Denise replied.
“And I’m sorry for yours. I just wanted to offer up my ear if you have anything you want to talk about.”
“I appreciate that more that you know,” Denise replied, “the department is taking very good care of Pam and the kids. They bring them anything they need day or night.”
“My daughter-in-law got the same kind of treatment. I sometimes felt a little left out by it,” she replied as she looked around the room where the guests were gathering in groups around the chapel, not wanting to sit down yet.
“I know what you mean. Does it ever get easier? Missing him I mean?”
“I still battle with it. I think it is because I didn’t talk about it more in the beginning and really deal with my feelings. They say that you will always miss them and maybe even stay angry for a while because they were taken from you through a senseless act. Makes it harder to accept.”
“Are you going to be here for the service?” Denise asked, “I would love to have you sit with us if you are.”
“I would be happy to,” Mrs. Stockton answered.
She stayed for the service and gave her condolences to the rest of the family before she left. Denise said that she would be in touch, even though she lived in Virginia. It would be another e-mail Mrs. Stockton would look forward to getting in her e-mail box.