The Bad Guy

I have laminated every article related to Shawn's death and put them in a wooden chest. Jordan discovered the hidden pile and asked if he could look at the photos. He had seen them before and loved the picture in one of the newspapers of our mayor cutting a ribbon with a gigantic scissors at the inaugural ceremony for a park named after Shawn. My son wanted to know how we could get a scissors that big.

In my office, I was typing away at emails trying to catch up when Jordan brought me a laminated piece with the news headline, "Stanke receives 42 years in prison for killing officer." My eyes froze on the photo of Stanke as Jordan asked, "Mommy, is this the bad guy that killed my dad?"

How did he know? I guess it is obvious, the photo of Stanke has no smile, it easily says criminal.

"Yes," I told Jordan.

"What's this number?" he asked, pointing to the headline.

"Forty-two," I told him. "The bad guy will be in jail for 42 years for killing your dad."

"That's a lot of years," Jordan said. Maddi was standing behind him, nodding. Both of my children held sheepish expressions on their faces, a sign that even as young as they are they understand the graveness of this topic.

"Yes," I agreed. "It's a lot of years because the bad guy made a very bad choice and did a very bad thing when he killed your daddy."

This seemed to end the discussion. I could tell my kids were processing, their little minds working to figure out how a bad guy forever changed our lives. I put the articles away. That was more than enough for one day.

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