Mrs. Stockton saw it on the 6:00 PM news. A 49 year old police officer was shot. It reminded her of the day she heard that her son, Martin had been killed. He was a police officer who had been shot by a 19 year old kid who was in possession of drugs and didn’t want to go to jail. He ended up going to jail for a lot longer than he would have for just having the drugs.
The police officer that was shot today was Daniel Edwards. He was shot by someone he pulled over on a routine traffic stop. Mrs. Stockton imagined what happened. He just walks up to the car to talk to the guy and then he gets shot in the head. That simple, that fast. Witnesses saw him drive away from the scene. How can people be so selfish? They think that they are going to be able to get away. Don’t they realize that by shooting them, they are getting into more trouble? In the passion of the moment, probably not.
She was startled by the ringing of the phone,
“Hello Mom”, her son David said.
David was her youngest son. He was Shelby’s Dad.
“David, how are you?”
“I’m good. I heard about the police shooting in your area. How are you doing?”
“Well, the shooting was on the other side of town, but I am feeling a little scared and sad.”
“I feel the same way when these things happen. Marty always comes to mind and it makes my heart ache.”
“I miss him, David. I wish that I could have had the chance to talk to him one more time. That kid took him away from me.”
“Took him away from all of us, Mom.”
“But, he wasn’t your son,” she said, her voice starting to sound upset.
“He was my brother. And I loved him too,” David replied in a calming tone.
Mrs. Stockton knew that she had never fully gotten over Marty’s death. The police department had someone come over and talk to them about how they were feeling about what happened. Her grieving has been hard. She had her son taken away from her for no reason.
“It’s still so hard honey,” she replied almost in tears.
“I know Mom. And it always will be.”
She just let down and started to cry.
“Mom, do you want me to have Shelby stop by? I don’t really want you to be alone right now.”
She wished that David was there to hug her, but he lived in Nebraska. Shelby was about 45 minutes away at Columbia, but she didn’t want to disturb her from her studies.
“No honey, I will be o.k. This is not the first time this has happened. And it will happen again.”
“That is sad to say, but you are right. Being a police officer is not a safe job, but it has only gotten more dangerous.”
“Thank you for calling me though. It was nice to hear your voice and feel your support.”
“I’m always here for you, even though I live far away.”
“I know honey. I love you very much.”
“Love you too Mom. Are you going to be o.k.?”
“Yes, David. I will be.”
“O.k., I am going to do my rounds at the hospital now. If you need me, please call.”
“I will honey!”
They said their good-byes. She remained on her sofa for a moment and then went into her bedroom. She pulled a small oak box out from her closet. She sat down on the bed and opened it. Inside were things that belonged to Marty. Most of his possessions were saved in a box and given to his son Ben, who was only three at the time. She picked up the framed picture which was on top. It was of Marty after he graduated from the Police Academy. She smiled at it. He had that quirky grin ever since he was a kid. She loved that about him.
“I miss you so much Marty,” she said to the picture. “I wish you were here to see Ben. I’m sure that you see him from heaven every day, but he is doing really well at Ohio State, where you went to school. I don’t think that the basketball coach really knows what to do with him, like they didn’t know what to do with you.”
She put the photo back in the box. She held her hands clasped in front of her heart and took a deep breath. She felt a warmth surround her that could only be her son. The feeling is what she tries to remember, not what happened to her son. But each time it happens to another officer, it always reminds her of what happened to Marty that day. His picture brings her back to what she should remember, the spirit of Marty Stockton, her son.