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.

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 – 8/6/14

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.

Selma’s Story Time – 8/4/14

The local news continued its coverage of the shooting of Officer Daniel Edwards. The guy who shot him was apprehended yesterday at his girlfriend’s house, thinking that it would be a good place to hide out. And he thought that he would get away with it? Mrs. Stockton thought, shaking her head. The shooter never seems to think the “what will happen after” part through. 
Pam Edwards, blond hair, blue eyed wearing nice fitted light blue sweater and tailored gray pants was standing by all of the microphones. Mrs. Stockton wondered if her husband was a cop before or after they got married. Walter had been a professor at Columbia, not a highly dangerous job, except a couple of times when kids had failed his class and though he had it out for them. How can these wives let their husbands go out on the streets and do things that can get them killed instantly and without warning? They become police officers because that is what they want to do. As hard as it is to do, their families support them. They are putting their lives on the line to protect us from harm.
 
She looked up at the TV and saw that Mrs. Edwards was ready to speak at the press conference, Mrs. Stockton  turned the sound up on the TV with the remote.
“Me and my family would like to thank you for all of the support you have shown us in this tough time. Dan loved what he did. He was out in the community helping people and just finished setting up the Safety in the Parks program for all of the urban kids who are affected by the growing problem with drugs. We never thought something like this would happen to him. A senseless loss of life. I hope that his family is able to find some peace in what their son has done to my husband and father of my children. It has changed our lives forever.”
Then a spokesperson announced when and where the funeral services would be held. Mrs. Stockton got up and walked into the kitchen to make lunch. She was waiting for an e-mail from Shelby to see when she wanted to come over. Hopefully it would be soon, so she could start the search.
 
As she put a ham and cheese sandwich and some chips on a plate, she thought about why Marty became a police officer. When he was growing up, he had always wanted to capture the bad guys and protect others from harm.   When Ben was born, he almost had that kid put into a bubble so no one could hurt him. Especially after what dangerous things he saw on the street. His captain was impressed with the instinct Marty had for understanding people. He could read body language really well and see through some of the stories that the bad guys made up to try and get themselves out of trouble. 
She took her lunch over by the computer to see if there were any new e-mails yet. There was one from Marie from church. She was looking for volunteers for the pancake breakfast next week. They used to have weekly meetings at the church to plan these things, now Marie has learned how to send group e-mails to let us know what is going on. Mrs. Stockton liked the weekly meetings. It helped her to get out of the house and see people. She was finding that she needed that more than she thought she would.
 
Then she saw the message that she had been waiting for, from Shelby,
Dear Grandma,
Nice to hear form you! Looks like I can get together for dinner this Tuesday night. I have a paper that I’m planning on finishing up on Monday night. Once I turn that in on Tuesday morning, my load is lightened up quite a bit. Will that work for you? Please let me know. Would love to see you.
Love always,
Shelby
Mrs. Stockton replied right after she read Shelby’s e-mail,
Dear Shelby,
Tuesday night would work great. I’m planning on making the favorite lasagna from the Stockton family recipe. We will see you then my dear.
Love always,
Grandma

Selma’s Story Time – 8/2/14

Getting home pretty late from the library, Shelby saw her Grandma’s e-mail just before going to bed.

Dear Shelby,

How are things at school? Must be getting through your midterms by now. Boy, the school year has been going by fast. Seems like yesterday we were going shopping for your new sheets.


Wondering if you have time to help me with another project. I have another person I want to find out where they are now. Please let me know when you would be available. Hope to see you soon honey!

Love always,


Grandma

Shelby replied,

Dear Grandma,


Another project? Who this time? I would love to come and help you, I will need to check on a couple of things at school before I can set a date. I will send you an e-mail to let you know.

Love always,


Shelby
She kept the e-mail in her drafts folder. She would send it in the morning when she got up. Her Grandma got pretty upset knowing how late she had been up the last time she sent in the middle of the night. Shelby didn’t want to make her worry.

This is the second person she has tried to find. Where does she keep coming up with these ideas?

7/30/14

This blogging session seems to have gone on its own track. Started off as an observation about how editing makes an idea into a story and wound up writing about how I am feeling about myself lately. I know I need to let the creative process take its own course and let whatever is going on inside of me come out. But looking back at what I have written so far, I’m not sure where things are really going. Let’s try and get this one back on track….
 
Creative writing has taken me on many adventures. It has always been amazing to see how the rough draft of a post starts out and how the final draft ends up. It’s like watching a painter create a picture in their head of what they want to paint and bring that picture to life on a blank canvas. The colors and forms fill up the picture and in the end becomes a work of art.
Sometimes I just start writing about something, an observation I’m making about something currently going on in my life. This summer has been a lot about baseball in our family, so a lot of my time has been around kids and doing things with them. So, I’m thinking about those experiences and relating it back to what I did when I was their age. 
 
The editing process is the key to making the final post a success. Making sure there are just enough words to make the idea clear to the reader without being too wordy. Or making sure I’m saying what I want to say with the words that I’ve chosen. Thank goodness we have computers and cut and paste options to help with that process. Makes it a lot easier to move paragraphs around and have a second set of eyes on spelling.
 
When does it become time for a story to take flight? When is it ready for the world to see? When it says what you want it to say and your brave enough to put it out there. Like the cover photo on my Facebook page says, “Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent.” Writing can be a way to share thoughts outside yourself. I used to journal my thoughts in notebooks and on the computer. Over the years I have gotten braver and braver at sharing those thoughts with others. 
By working on my writing again, I’ve been tapping into some creative energy that has been inside of me, waiting to come out. Seems to be coming out and taking me in many different directions. Sometimes staying on track with an idea and sometimes going off on multiple tangents. All a part of the creative process. I know what I  write is a personal choice, but there are many ways to do it. To bring the idea across to the reader in a creative but interesting way can be fun fun, but also very challenging. 
 
Blogging has helped me do a little bit of writing everyday and work on honing the craft. And, to experience some of the most special moments in my life again.

7/29/14

Being involved in the kids baseball season brings back lots of memories for me. After experiencing the end of one of this year’s travelling seasons with the boys, it made me pull out some of my pictures and articles from my softball career last night.
 
The smell of old newspaper greeted me as I looked through the photos and articles. My softball years spanned eight years, starting when I was ten and ended when I was eighteen. Seeing the pictures from my first T-Ball team, the Giants to the different sponsored teams that I played on. Some of the girls in those pictures, I’m still in touch with thanks to Facebook. Remember the good ole days up at the Little League Fields? Did you know that our league started in 1957? Do you remember the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary All Star games in 1982?
Reading through the articles, I saw that my name was mentioned having had two hits in a game a couple of times. I have a couple of trophies in my keepsake box from some of the successes I have had in softball. But not all successes are measured by having a trophy. Just being able to play has helped me to become who I am today and helped me to be involved in what Max and Mitch are doing in baseball now.
One of the memories I have from my childhood is biking up to the ball park to play softball for my summer league growing up. The field was about a half mile from my house, right between an airport and a golf course on the east end of town. Some of the team pictures I have show the airport in the background. We used to ride on the sidewalk all of the way up there. The fields are no longer there. The song, “It used to be my playground” by Madonna, runs through my head as I think about it now.
My primary position was catcher and I would bat first because I was able to get on base a lot. It was neat getting on base, waiting for my teammates to hit me in. Felt like you were helping your team score points while you stood on the base cheering them on. I wasn’t the best player and I wasn’t the worst player but I came to the field every day to play the game and hopefully help my team win. Getting treat tickets after the game to get a soda and some candy was another favorite memory of mine.
Our team went to the State Tourney in St. Cloud. My Mom had written all of the team names in the brackets for who won and who lost each game. Looks like we only made it to the second round that year. Whether we made it to State or played through just the regular season together, once it ended I would miss heading to the field and playing on a team with those girls.
One of the best things about playing team sports is meeting kids you may not have gotten to know in school. The experience gave us something to have in common and made us friends. We shared a chapter or more in each other’s lives growing up, creating a camaraderie that will always be with us. How about the team pictures that sometimes get posted on Facebook? 
I carry fond memories of those times in my heart.