The first selection is Ed’s response to my pressing him for his thoughts and feelings about what he did to me when I was a child; it took months of trying to get this. James and Garrett are the children of Ed’s step-son; they are currently about three and five years old.
The second selection is Ed trying to make sense of his position now. Mary Ellen is his sister.
Both selections were written in the early fall of 2015.
Ed’s words are in italics and have not been edited in any way; spelling and grammatical errors are his.
I have been struggling with how to answer your questions. My problem was I couldn’t put it into an emotional context until this last weekend. It was James birthday and I truly enjoy and love James and Garrett very much and it dawned on me”how would I feel if I were to hurt either of those 2 boys?”. This might sound a bit out of context, but it did get to the heart of what made me realize the pain I caused you.
I can’t even imagine how or why I could hurt those boys and when I realised you were their age when I beat you, it stopped my heart cold and i couldn’t even talk for a few minutes. When Marie asked me what was the matter, I couldn’t even answer her. The emotions were horriable, [sic] devisating, terrifing, it was llike a building crushing me, And I had done that to you.
I an working on becoming “emotionall present” and have found myself several times wishing “Why wasn’t this me/us”. One specific example was Mary Ellen’s and my trip to Half Moon Bay last month to celebrate the 50th anniversay of her oldest and dearest friend. The 2 of the met while working for me at Karl’s Shoes in SSF and therefore i was invited. We were probaly the only non-family there. The 3 children had pulled everyone together as far away as New Mexico, Arizone, S Calif for the celebration. There were 4 generations there, 5 if Maria’s Mom hadn’t died last year.
Watching the entire family interact between the top and the bottom generation and then intergerenatally caught me emotionally. Mary Ellen and I both commented on how that never happens when our immediate family generation gets together whenever.
The rest of the 2 hour drive home I thought about why it doesn’t happen between us and what I did to you to cause the place were we are now.
I’m also reading a book by Richard Rohlhauser a Spituital Psycologist who talks about Men Blessing other men, most specifically their own sons. If hard for me to read today what i should have done 50+ years ago to you then and continuing forward to even now. To start that with you today would be like trying to throw a 50 ft rope across the Grand canyon. Too little too late.
What is my only reprive is the love and joy I have and give to Jeff’s and Sally’s sons keeping them away from the Ed you remember. To them that Ed doesn’t exist, and I plan to keep it that way
So where does that leave us after your 50 years of pain and suffering, I see you as the “emotionall present father” to your kids, the respect and love you give them and Rhonda too, yet I am at the bottom of the Grand Canyon hoping to reach a 50 foot rope being tossed down from the rim. So for now I’ll just keep craweling up the cliff until something happens, or never happens, whichever comes first.
There is much I could say to these passages, and I can’t tell you have much thought I’ve given to his words …
I could tear him apart for replacing his son and grandchildren with surrogates – if only in his mind, as though people are somehow interchangeable …
I could cruelly explain to him why the Shockley family does not enjoy multi-generational celebrations in love and tenderness …
Or, I could explain how difficult it was for me to read his words and not be able to decide whether he was actually trying reach me now, or trying to manipulate me into believing he had changed.
Do I feel pity? Compassion? Something else …
I just don’t know.