Selma’s Story Time – 8/13/14

She made a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for dinner and kept thinking about whether she should do it or not.
Should I do it and find out something bad.
Should I not do it and wonder for the rest of her life.
Should I do it and get the answer that she wants and put the thing to bed once and for all.
Curiosity got the better of her in the end. After cleaning up the dinner dishes, she grabbed her after dinner tea and sat down at the computer. She started typing but decided to keep the e-mail short and to the point.
Dear Jerry Givings,

I am the Mother of the police officer you are now serving time in prison for killing. I know a lot of time has passed since it all happened. I have struggled to deal with the loss of my son ever since that day. He was a husband and a new Dad. He had a lot of good things happening in his life when you made the decision to kill him. Because of what you did, his son never knew his Dad except for pictures and stories that we have shared with him. 

The reason why I am writing this is to ask you one question. Are you sorry for what you did to my family that day? That’s what I want to know so I can maybe start my healing process.

I would appreciate a reply to this e-mail but understand if you are unable to.

Ed said that her email address would be hidden from him and not to sign it, to keep the process more anonymous. But she all but gave him her name in what she wrote, he will know who it is from. She read through it a couple more times before she hit send. When ‘your message has been sent’ appeared on the screen she wanted the email back. She didn’t want to stir up the feelings with him. She was scared of the answer and hearing from him. Keeping this line of communication open with him made her nervous, but now all she could do was wait and see.

**********
It was the anniversary of Marty’s death. Mrs. Stockton would bring flowers and spend a little time with her son today as she has done on October 12th every year since it happened. 
After breakfast, she took the rest of her tea to the computer to check her e-mail messages. She had two new messages. One was from her son David, just letting her know he was thinking of Marty today. Then she saw one from an address that didn’t look familiar. It was a little bit scrambled. She had heard somethings from Shelby about not opening unfamiliar e-mails as they could have viruses in them that would damage the computer’s hard drive. She was about to delete it when she saw the word prison in the subject line. It may be an e-mail from Jerry Givings. She double clicked on the message and started to read
THIS MESSAGE IS FROM A PRISON INMATE AT TRESSMAN/NEWMAN. IT IS IN RESPONSE TO AN E-MAIL SENT FROM THIS ADDRESS. IF YOU KNOW OF NO ONE FROM THIS PRISON, PLEASE DELETE THIS E-MAIL.
There was an envelope on the the center of the screen. Mrs. Stockton clicked on it and the following message appeared.
Dear Ma’am,

I received your e-mail a couple of weeks ago. I had some time to think about things and finally got some computer time to be able to respond.

I was just a punk kid that had no idea what consequences were. I know that is a bad excuse for what I did, but it was the only reason I really have. I didn’t want to get caught with the drugs and thought I could get away if I shot your son. Obviously I was wrong.

I will be spending my life in prison paying for what I did. I think about that day and what I did everyday that I am in here. That is the hardest part. I could have been out many years ago if I was just caught for possession of drugs. If I had only known then what I know now.

I am sorry for what I did to your family and his son. He should have never had to grow up without his Dad. I hope that my response helps you to start healing.

She didn’t know how to feel. She got the answer that she wanted. She felt relieved but was also saddened by the fact that he would be in jail for the rest of his life because of it. 

Upon arriving at the cemetery, she walked over to his grave and put the flowers in the vase. Kneeling down by his headstone she started talking,
“I got an e-mail from Jerry Givings today, Marty. He’s sorry for what he did. I don’t know if I will be able to forgive him, but at least I know that he didn’t do it to take you away from me. I needed to know that so I can start to heal. I miss you every day Martin Stockton and I love you more than you will ever know.”
She went on to share the current family news with him and enjoyed being with her son’s spirit, more at peace with things than she had ever been before.
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Selma’s Story Time – 8/12/14

After Ellen left, Mrs. Stockton felt they just scratched the surface of getting an e-mail sent to Jerry Givings. She was hoping that she was going to have it done before Ellen left. Why did this have to turn into a project? Well, she thought, if it was going to help her feel better about things, it might be worth the time and effort to do it now.

A cup of tea and a pad of paper would be needed, so she started making tea and found a notebook and pen. Ellen said to start jotting down ideas, doing it how and where she was the most comfortable. She looked out the kitchen window and saw Oxford out in the Tinker’s backyard. Maybe the porch would be a good place. With her tea in hand, she walked out there and settled in on the couch. After sliding her feet under her, she picked up the notebook and pen and started writing.

Dear Jerry Givings,

I am the Mother of the police officer you killed. I needed to write to you with a few questions I have.

Then she started to get mad at Walter again. Why wouldn’t he let her talk to him? With one shot, he had taken her son away from her. Didn’t she deserve a chance to yell at him? She wondered where she would be now if she had dealt with this back then. The question that she really wanted to ask was if he was sorry for what he did. He has had to face it everyday in prison since it happened just like she has in her own home. She decided to try writing again.

Dear Jerry Givings,

I am the Mother of the police officer you killed. I have been wondering, are you sorry for killing my son? I would have asked you at the time, but my family didn’t want the answer. Or, knew what the answer was and didn’t tell me. I would like to forgive you for what you have done so I can move on, but I don’t think I can. What you did was too much to be forgiven for. I have to forgive my husband for not letting me tell you how I felt before you went to prison. I think that is information you really needed to have then. Maybe you could be sorry now, if you aren’t already.

Mrs. Stockton stopped writing. That was the real issue. She would have liked to call him names and tell him that what he did was terrible and he needed to make it all better. She just realized that he wouldn’t have been able to make it better. He couldn’t bring Marty back. That’s what she needed to accept so she could move on.

She decided to call Ellen and let her know what she came up with. Ellen answered the phone on the second ring.

“Am I interrupting anything?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“No, I was making some notes for a session I have tomorrow. How are you doing?”
“I have come across some ideas of why I am so upset.”
“What are they?”
“I wanted to yell and scream at him to make him sorry for what he did and have him fix it. He wouldn’t have been able to to that.”

“No, he wouldn’t have been able to bring Marty back.”
“I think in my own head, I needed to know I at least tried to get him back and I needed to tell Jerry how much it hurt me. Once I wrote it down on paper it started to make sense to me.”
“When it’s our own problem, it is always a bigger deal in our head than it may be on paper or outside ourselves. That’s why talking to other people helps sort things out and put them in a different perspective.”
“So, if I would have talked to someone sooner, I could have known this a while ago and not gone through all of this pain.”
“We don’t know that for sure. Some of the healing process takes time. And, you may not have been ready to start healing then. Your process might have had to take longer.”
“So, what do we do now?”
“Do you feel the need to send him an e-mail? Or do you think you can accept that and move on, once you forgive Walter for not letting you cope the way you needed to?”
“I can accept that he thought he was doing what was right for him, but was a little shortsighted when it came to how I felt. I don’t think I need the answer from Jerry now as much as I am curious if he would give me one. Maybe he’s sorry after all of this time.”
“So are you going to ask him?”
“I’ll have to think about it and let you know.”

Selma’s Story Time – 8/11/14

She had gotten some sleep, but her mind kept racing. This felt like the right thing to do, but she wasn’t sure what the feelings trapped inside were going to do when they came out.
A couple of months ago, Shelby took her Grandma to The Neighborhood Perk, a coffee shop on campus where she frequently studied. The coffee there tasted better than Mrs. Stockton’s day to day coffee, so she picked up a bag to have when guests came over. She started the brewing the coffee to have with Ellen. 
 
As she placed Marty’s scrapbook on the table in the living room, the door bell rang. Taking a deep breath, she straightened her blouse and went to answer the door.
 
“Hello Shirley,” said Ellen.
“Ellen, it is so good to see you,” Mrs. Stockton said, “please come in.”
 
Ellen came into the entryway and Mrs. Stockton shut the door behind her. Ellen set her purse down on the table by the door, and reached over and gave Mrs. Stockton a hug. The embrace was comforting for both women.
 
“I thought that we would get started in the dining room with our coffee and bakery treats and then move into the living room depending on how things were going,” Mrs. Stockton said as she led Ellen towards the dining room.
“Just let yourself do what you need to do Shirley,” Ellen replied, “I’m just here to listen and I want you to be comfortable while you share your feelings.”
“O.k.,” she replied.
 
They started by talking about what Ellen’s kids were up to and what Mrs. Stockton’s grandkids were up to, which helped Mrs. Stockton feel more at ease. She felt a little bit strange about starting to share her feelings about communicating with Jerry Givings.
 
“When do we start talking about how I feel about talking to him?” Mrs. Stockton asked with a very anxious tone to her voice.
“Whenever you are ready to,” Ellen responded calmly to help calm her.
“I’ve never done this before,” Mrs. Stockton said, “I didn’t know if there was a right way to proceed.”
“There’s no set way to do it. Each session is different.”
 
Mrs. Stockton took a sip of coffee and a deep breath before she started speaking.
 
“Well, Ed has given me a way to communicate with Jerry Givings, the one who shot Marty.”
“What do you want to know from him?” Ellen asked.
“If he’s sorry for the pain he has caused me and my family.”
“What do you think he’ll say?”
“Deep down I think I know.”
“What?”
“That he doesn’t really care about what he did.”
“Will you accept that answer? Or do you want it to be something else?”
“It may be hard, but I will have to accept it. I want him to tell me that he didn’t mean to do it so I can forgive him and move on.”
“You may have to forgive him, but you don’t have to forget what he did.”
“Then it will still be on my mind. How do I move past it then?”
“You have to stop making it such a focus in your life.”
“I’m reminded every time the news says another cop has been shot.”
“The moving on process doesn’t mean you will never think about it again. It just means that you know how to manage it.”
 
Taking another sip of coffee, she followed with exaggerated deep breath.
 
“Are you o.k?” Ellen asked.
“I’m feeling a wave of emotions swelling up in me.”
“What’s causing it?” Ellen asked, “Just let it out, whatever it is. You are in a safe place and I am here.”
“I’m angry at Walter,” she blurted out.
“Why are you angry at him?”
“He wouldn’t let me talk to someone about how I felt. He wouldn’t let me get mad at Jerry Givings.”
“Why didn’t he want you to talk to someone?”
“He didn’t want anyone else in our affairs. He didn’t want anyone outside of our family to know that we were hurting. He wanted us to appear as a strong family and not weak.”
“Why didn’t you talk to someone in your family? Share with them how you were feeling?”
“They didn’t understand. They didn’t just lose a son. And I couldn’t go against my husband’s wishes and talk to someone anyway.”
“So, what did you do to deal with the feelings you were having?”
“I didn’t know what to do with them. I just stuffed them deep down inside and tried to forget about it. But, I couldn’t forget about Marty.”
“There’s nothing wrong with how you handled it. You did what you did with the information you had at the time. And, you are angry about it because you felt held back from what you wanted to do.”
“How do I fix it now?”
“You have to forgive yourself for not talking to someone about it then. You are talking to someone now and that’s a great first step.”
“Where do I go from here?”
“What I would like you to do is sit down and write the e-mail to Jerry. Don’t send it, but just write what you want to say to him. This letter doesn’t have to be well written. It just needs to get all of those feelings out so we can look at them. Think of it like writing in a personal journal.”
“What will I do with that?” she said, doubting that this was the right thing to do.
“I’m hoping that you will be able to share what you write with me. Then we can talk about it and make a plan for what our next step should be.”
“When do I have to have this ready by?”
“There is no deadline. Take your time and call me when you are ready to share. I wouldn’t stretch it out for very long though. We have started to touch on somethings already that are on your mind. Once they start to flow, it’s good to just let the walls break down and start the journey to heal.”
“This idea kind of scares me.”
“Getting the feelings out can be a hard thing to do. But just let them come out. I’ll be a phone call away if this becomes too overwhelming for you.”
 
They both got up from the dining room table. Mrs. Stockton walked her to the door, knowing that this first step was hard. The second step on this journey may be even harder.

Selma’s Story Time – 8/8/14

Sleep was hard to come by because she had way too much on her mind. The pain she felt over the years for the loss of her son has been so hard to bear. Being so stoic and not expressing how she felt because it was the right thing to do in Walter’s eyes. She held all of her feelings inside and tried to deal with them, but didn’t know what to really do with them. Now every time she saw a shooting on the news, she relived the anger and the pain she felt when it happened. To bring peace to her state of mind, she knew she would have to forgive him. She didn’t think that she could do that. His actions that day hurt her to the core. 
Just as the sun was coming up outside, she got up and had breakfast. The more she thought about making contact with him, the harder it was to express her feelings in a logical way. She tried to sit down at the computer and type the message, but it kept coming up as a jumbled mess of feelings. It was becoming clear that she wasn’t ready to write him an e-mail. She decided to call Ed before lunch to talk to him about what she should do.
“Shirley,” Ed answered, “how are you today?”
“Not so good. I’m not ready to talk to him yet. I have way too many feelings inside that need to come out before I do.”
“This reaction is normal. What you want to do is not easy, but I know of someone you can talk to,” Ed replied, “her name is Ellen Turner.”
“Your wife?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“Yes. She’s a counselor with the NYPD. She started training about six months after Marty was shot.”
“Do you think that Ellen would have time to see me?” she asked.
“I’m sure that she would make the time and would love to help. Maybe even make it a coffee date. She loves things like that. I’ll have her call you and set something up.”
“Thank you Ed. That would be great.”
“I think it will help to settle your thoughts a bit before you make contact with Jerry.”
“It’s a good idea. I will look forward to her call.”
She got off of the phone feeling good about the plan, but anxious about talking about how she felt. There was so much bottled up inside of her that she needed to sort out and understand about what happened. She went through the rest day feeling very emotional and out of sorts, which was not normal for her.
After dinner, the phone rang.
“Hello.” Mrs. Stockton answered.
“Hi Shirley, it’s Ellen Turner. I know it has been a while since we chatted. Probably since Marty’s funeral. That was a sad day for all of us.”
“Thank you for taking the time to call me Ellen. Do you think you would have some time to meet and talk?”
“Sure. Ed said that maybe going to a coffee shop would make it a little less formal.”
“Could you come over to my house? I could serve some coffee here. I think I’ll need to be in a place where I feel comfortable to share these feelings.”
“I understand perfectly and yes, I would be happy to come to your house. When should we do it?”
They settled on getting together the next morning around 9:00 AM. Mrs. Stockton would have the coffee and Ellen would bring the pastries from the local bakery. After they got off the phone, Mrs. Stockton went to the computer to send a note to Denise
Dear Denise,

How are you doing? Been thinking about you, knowing how hard things are right now. The feelings for me came in waves and I didn’t really know how I felt. It is o.k. to feel this way.

I want to run something by you. I’ve been given the opportunity to send an e-mail to the man who shot my son. I’m having mixed feelings about it enough to talk to a counselor tomorrow morning. Should I even do it? He may not even answer the question that I want to ask. I want to know if he is sorry for what he has done to my family.
Am I crazy for wanting to do this? Should I just walk away and move on?

Would love to know your thoughts.

Shirley
Mrs. Stockton went to the kitchen and refreshed her chamomile tea, feeling very emotionally drained. She took a couple of sips and decided to lay down in bed and try to go to sleep. 

Selma’s Story Time – 8/7/14

 

His name is Ed Turner. It has been a while since she had last talked to Marty’s partner. Ed took Marty’s shooting pretty hard and went on a leave of absence to work through the emotional trauma afterwards. He came back stronger than ever and worked his way up through the ranks and was now an Deputy Sheriff for the NYPD in charge of Brooklyn. Mrs. Stockton saw a newspaper article recently talking about all of the positive things he has done for that department. She looked up the non emergency number for the station on the internet.
“Brooklyn Police Department,” the operator answered.
“I would like to speak to Deputy Sheriff Ed Turner.”
“He’s out on a call. Would you like to leave him a message?”
“Do you know when he will be back? I would like to stop down and see him,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“We are never sure when they will be back, best thing may be for you to leave him a message and have him call you.”
Mrs. Stockton left a message on Ed’s voicemail. The voice sounded a little older, but still the same. She decided to put some final touches on her garden before winter set in; making sure she pulled all of the remaining dead plants and leaves out and removing the mulch from underneath the rose bushes. She loved her rose bushes. They were a gift from the kids one Mother’s Day when they were much younger and she tended to them with lots of love.
After a couple of hours in the garden, she went back in the house and checked for messages. None yet. She was sure that Ed was a busy man, it may take him a while to get back to her. She went back outside and brought all of her gardening tools into the shed, done for another season. Walking back towards the house she glanced over into the Tinkers yard and saw Oxford, digging a hole to bury a bone. Then the sound of a phone ringing came through the open kitchen window.
“Hello,” she answered almost out of breath from running to the phone.
“Shirley?” A male voice on the other end inquired.
“Ed, how are you doing?”
“Better question is are you o.k.? Sounds like you are out of breath.”
“I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss your call, so when I heard it ring, I ran to it.”
“Well, it is good to hear your voice. How are things with the kids?”
“They are good. David’s daughter is going to school at Columbia.”
“Walter’s favorite place, he would be proud.”
“Nick is at USC on a football scholarship and Ben is in his third year at OSU.”
“Just like his Dad. Last picture I saw of him, he looks just like him too.”
“Almost a spitting image. Sometimes it is hard for me not to call him Marty. How are Ellen and the kids?”
“Good. Betsy is going to start her second year at Standford and Cory will be graduating from high school.”
“They have all grown up so fast, haven’t they?” Mrs. Stockton said.
“In your message you said you had a favor to ask. What do you have for me?”
“I want to know where Jerry Givings is.”
“Why do you want to know that, Shirley. He is never getting out.”
“I want to know if he is sorry for what he did to my family.”
“I’m almost sure he isn’t, but why do you want to know?”
“Trying to make peace with my son’s death. And besides, I never got to ask him.”
“Are you planning to visit him?”
“Maybe. Or just send a letter or call.”
“Well, prison is not a place for a nice lady like you. But, if you feel the need to do something, I would probably call or write.”
“So, you know where he is?”
“Of course I do, he killed my partner. And the only way he is getting out of there is if they roll him out on a gurney dead.”
Mrs. Stockton knew that he meant it. During the trial, Ed was almost ready to pull a gun and shoot him on the spot.
“So, are you going to tell me where he is?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“I’m not sure it is such a good idea. I don’t want him to hurt you any more than he already has. He’s not a nice man.”
“How could he hurt me any more than he already has. He killed my son.”
“I’d rather have you leave this alone.”
“I need to at least ask. He may not respond to me, but at least I tried.”
“Do you have an email address?” Ed asked.
“Yes,” she replied, hearing some typing in the background.
“I will give you the general email of the prison that he is at. You can send an email to him and he will get it. Whether he’ll respond is up to him. Will that work for you?”
“Yes, Ed. Thank you.”
He gave her the email address for the Tressman/Newman prison in Kentucky. It was kind of scary for her to know where he was and the fact that he was still alive. The next project will be to write the email.

Selma’s Story Time – 8/6/14

Bringing her tea onto the porch, Mrs. Stockton thought about how gracious Dan Edwards’ family was at the Memorial Service last night. She found it was hard to be there for others while hurting for the loss of a loved one. She sat down at the computer to respond to an e-mail from Denise,
 
 
Denise,
I am so happy I reached out to you. Thanks for being so receptive. I think I was more in shock at Marty’s service than you appeared to be last night. My husband Walter believed in dealing with things internally. At the time, I couldn’t go against the wishes of my husband, but emotionally I needed to.
Have you guys decided on when you are going to hold Dan’s burial? They say to not wait too long, so the family can have closure and a place to go to be with him.
I’ll write again soon. My Granddaughter Shelby is coming over for dinner tonight and I need to get the lasagna in the oven. Take Care of yourself!
Shirley
 
The lasagna just finished baking when Shelby arrived. After they enjoyed the old family recipe dinner, they washed the dishes together. When the last dish was dried and put away, Mrs. Stockton went to the bedroom closet to pull out the oak box. She took a scrapbook out and brought it downstairs.
“Has your Dad talked to you about your Uncle Marty?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“He told me that he was a police officer and that was shot in the line of duty,” Shelby replied.
“Let me show you a few things,” Mrs. Stockton said as she placed the scrapbook on the dining room table.
She opened the book to the first page. There was a picture of Marty with his parents the day he graduated from the Police Academy. It brought tears to Mrs. Stockton’s eyes to see it again.
“Are you o.k. Grandma?” Shelby asked with a concerned tone in her voice.
“Yes honey, I’ll be fine. I just miss him so much, and sometimes it makes me cry.”
“I wish I could have met him,” Shelby said, “but I wasn’t born yet.”
“You were born just a couple of years later. Your brother Nick was born about a month after it happened.”
“It had to be a tough time for our family.”
“It was hard to lose him, but I think that the hardest time for us was after Marty was buried and the shock started to wear off. The heart felt attention from others stopped and it was time for us to start moving on. Jenny had a nervous breakdown over what she was going to do. She was now a single Mom with no job, since Marty was supporting her, and a house payment to make.”
“What did she end up doing?” Shelby asked.
“She wound up going back to school and we took care of Ben for her. She got a degree in counseling and ended up working in a teen crisis center.”
“She’s a pretty strong woman,” Shelby said.

They looked through the rest of the scrapbook together and Mrs. Stockton was sharing memories with Shelby. She looked up at the clock and noticed the time.

“We better get working on your project before it gets too late,” Shelby said.
“You’re right,” Mrs. Stockton replied, “let’s move into the porch.”
They grabbed their mugs off of the dining room table and put them onto the computer desk.
“Your Grandpa would never let me search for people like this,” Mrs. Stockton said as she sat down by the computer.
“I know. Why didn’t you ever work outside the home?”
“I grew up in a different time where the husband provided for his wife and family and the wife took care of the home.”
“My Mom and Dad both work,” Shelby said.
“Pretty nice jobs too. Keeps them busy. And keep you in school.”
“My scholarship helps with that too, Grandma.”
They started their internet search through the records that they could get into.
“A lot of this information is password protected, Grandma,” Shelby said.
“Some of it is public information though.”
“The fact that he was arrested, what he was charged with, and what his sentence was, but not where he’s serving his time.”
“That’s too bad,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“Why do you want to find him?” Shelby asked.
“I want to know if he is sorry for what he did to our family.”
“Did he ever say that he was?” Shelby asked.
“I never got to ask him,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“Oh. I don’t think we are going to get much further with what we can get into. I’m sorry Grandma.”
“No worries honey,” Mrs. Stockton replied, “I have an idea who can help me.”

Selma’s Story Time – 8/5/14

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.