Some days getting mail is nice, a good thing. We receive thank yous from those the Foundation has touched and it is such a blessing to receive them knowing our work is helping. But some days the mail brings tears. We received notice of the remembrance celebration at CMH in October. Just something that simple can start the tears. We also received a letter from the Department of Corrections to notify us of our rights as a victim of a crime. It included a phone number that we can call any hour day or night to access information on the "offender of our crime". It also requested more information from us - phone numbers, email, etc, so that we could be contacted in a more timely manner as to status changes (parole hearings, scheduled releases, escape, death, return to custody). I made the phone call this morning to our Victim Services Specialist to provide the needed information. He confirmed what we had already heard - the first parole hearing will be in December. He said we should receive notice within 30 days as to the exact date. He stated this early date is simply based upon a 6 year sentence and not the crime itself. Sundermann should not be granted parole this early for taking a life (sigh of relief). The parole board must have a majority vote to release him, but his mandatory release date of June 11, 2012 has been set. Ryan Sundermann will only spend a maximum of 4 years behind bars and the rest will be spent under parole supervision. These are the facts. I don't like them, but unfortunately there is nothing we can do other than attempt to change the system for those who come after us. This is our first experience with any kind of court proceedings, prison systems, and the justice system, so I guess I am still learning and still not liking much of it. It seems the criminals are the ones with the rights throughout this entire process. Yes, it's their lives, but I feel they gave up their rights to have a say when the crime was committed. (I'll get off my soap box for now.)
A later part of my evening was spent in tears too. Elly has started to outgrow her 6-9 month jammies, which is a good thing, and I thought I could just sift through the tubs of clothes from the other girls to find the 12 month ones. Nice thought, but I should have known better. When I tried to pull out summer clothes, I had a meltdown then too. I try to think "They are just clothes", but somehow they aren't. There are too many memories tied to them. There are things I have just refused to put Elly in, especially since she still resembles Abby quite a bit. I guess Elly is just going to get some new jammies that will be all hers.