Out of the Shadows

Out of the Shadows
by Theresa Sederholt
Genre: Suspense, Family Crime
Dane Johnson was like every other man in his thirties except for one very big secret. One that, for him, was so horrific, he was determined to keep it hidden. He thought it would never see the light of day—that is until today. His fragile world has crumbled around him. The past exposed for the world to see. Now the boy he tried so hard to keep safe might be gone forever.
This is a journey into one man’s hell, with the hope that it will help others find the strength to be able to say, “I need help.”
Theresa Sederholt was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. She is a graduate of Campbell University in North Carolina, with a degree in Criminal Justice. Theresa now resides in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband – a professional chef – and her two adorable dogs.
Experiencing life first-hand is what she does best. Believing she can do anything has put her in some crazy situations; babysitting a pig farm and cutting the top off a mini truck. Her list is A-to-Z and full of endless possibilities.
As a flight attendant (there’s that list again), she would make up stories about all of her passengers as they came and went. It seemed only natural to put pen-to-paper and see where these characters would take her.
A story that started as a single woman having a cup of coffee – while trying to make it through life – quickly grew into a complex world of romance, mystery, and murder. The Unraveled Trilogy was born.
This trilogy may have had humble beginnings, but in 2015 it gained prestigious recognition. Shattered Lies (book three in the trilogy) won Inks & Scratches Book Of The Year along with Cover Of The Year. BTS (Book Trailer Showcase) Book Reviews gave Shattered Lies The Red Carpet Book Award for Honorable Mention Rising Star Readers Choice. Theresa can humbly claim herself as an Award-Winning Author.
Theresa’s beliefs are pretty simple:
There isn’t a luggage rack on the hearse.
Give a girl some Nutella and an espresso, then watch her change the world.
Theresa enjoys connecting with her fans.
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Waiting for the Tears

I keep thinking I should have something profound to say, something to share which will give meaning to … well death.  In reality, I’m so busy right now I am not sure most of the time if I’m coming or going.  I’m dealing with the latest cluster of tasks for mom.

G Walter, Grace, Bud,
Eunice, Joan & Harley

First it was oh no she’s going to the doctor / ER / hospital in Madison!  My cluster of tasks included getting time off work and trying to keep up with the most vital tasks.  I needed to make sure there was food, gas, and other things.  Sitting with her, giving her time to rest while still making sure she knew I was there.

I hate hospitals – I hate them.  The smell, the sounds, the people.  I hate them.  Shoot me in the head before you take me to one to die.

The next cluster of tasks had to do with – mom’s dead.  Now we need to notify… everyone who ever knew her.  We had to make the choices for the funeral and arrangements for people to get there.  No one tells you the million and one decisions you have to make when in reality your mind is still busy trying to process … everything.

Joan holding Aimee

Going back to work was a relief – a hint of normal in an otherwise chaotic time.  I knew what was on my desk – mostly.  I knew what was expected.  I really spent more time being supported by the people there – did I need anything?

With a small break, the next cluster of activities was post funeral – what to do with the pictures, the flowers, the cards, the money… Let me tell you – if you love someone – plan your damn funeral down to the minutest detail so they don’t have to think about it but only have to follow directions.  Tell them the songs you want, the words you want said – whether religious or irreverent.

Joan & Virginia

Post all of this crap – I’m still not slowing down.  I had a writing event to go to.  It was a good experience in that I met a lot of interesting people.  It was a crappy event in that the organizer had no clue on how to organize.

Now I’m dealing with will / finances cluster of tasks… life insurance, closing bank accounts, retirement, sorting out her things.  It’s never ending – but reality is life goes on.  I want to have that moment – where tears fall and I feel all the sorrow but all I feel is numb and a need to organize and get the most recent cluster of tasks done.

This weekend is pay weekend so I’ll be working on budget, errands, and cleanup from last weekend which will involve working on a newsletter.  Next weekend is going to my sister’s house to organize mom’s things.  This will lead to the next cluster of tasks – dispersing those things according to her will and her wishes.

I tell people I’m fine or that I’m hyper irritable (to which a good friend asked how would we tell).  In reality – I don’t know what I feel – I’m too busy taking care of the different cluster of tasks.  Like it has in the past – it will likely be something ridiculous which sets off my tears.

A Journey Home

My mother passed away on October 12.  It’s been a difficult two weeks with her being ill and then dying.  My family and I have worked through her funeral and working on her estate.  I’ve been so busy, I’ve not had time to get to grieving.

I’ve been touchy.  The littlest thing will either make me cry or be exceedingly angry.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it – this is just my process.

The funeral was on Monday.  Yesterday two of my daughters flew back to their home.  My husband and I spent the afternoon doing things like walking through her apartment to double check everything and turning in her keys, returning the picture boards to the funeral home, returning her phone modem and turning off her phone service.  I spent more time writing thank you cards and organizing money to go to the church for their youth programs.

Writing some of the thank you cards took a lot of time.  They needed to be worded with care.  The doctor and nurses who helped mom in her last days deserved to know how much we appreciated the care they gave her.

Today I went back to work.  I was exhausted before I got to work – another symptom of my grieving.  I’m able to sleep a little better now.  The last couple weeks my sleep has been sporadic.

The care I’ve received – I don’t really have the words for how much people have given to me.  I’m still in the numb phase so don’t feel anyone needs to comfort me until I crash and need the comfort.  People are willing to listen and talk or not talk about it.  My faculty and student workers have been patient and understanding.  The care and concern they have shown warms my heart.  A friend who planned a vacation postponed it to be at the funeral.  She offered distraction and advice as she was able.

My niece listened to me grumble as I stressed over getting tasks done.  She took time to care even as she grieved.  The family came together without contentiousness and helped each other.  I’m impressed we could manage this – we are a bunch of strong willed people who all like their own way.

My daughters and husband have been there through all of this, helping me as I did tasks which had to be done.  They encouraged and supported me.  I can’t say enough about them.  With the five of us together, we spent time together, had meals together.  In all the stress, they were the best part of the last two weeks.

Mom loved her grandchildren.  She loved seeing them, talking to them, and spending time with them.  My daughters all got to say I love you to her and hear her say I love you back on her last day.

In my head, I see her walking to dad.  She’s not in pain.  She’s happy, healthy, and at peace.  I see my father, who passed 34 years ago, greeting her with a passionate kiss because he never could keep his hands off her.  I think they’re planning their next trip or making love.  

Catch Up

It’s been a busy week.  I’ve gotten some of my writing stuff done but mostly spent time with family.  My daughters came to visit.  We played this new game called Ticket to Ride.  It was fun.  On the surface it was simple – pick tickets and build your trains from one station to the next.  Then as you get playing you realize there are strategies involved.  For instance, when to pick more tickets?  How many trains do you have to build your trains?  We’ve spent the most time playing this game and having a great time.

This weekend will be about getting the errands done.  The nice thing is both Vicki and I are off so we will be doing a lot of the errands tomorrow.  On Saturday we will be going to Ikea and a phone place to look at phones for mom – one for the hearing impaired.

I still have edits to put on the computer and editing to do on a manuscript.  I’m crossing my fingers to get part of that done yet.

I have gotten 70 of the 100 coasters made for the event in November.  I’m hoping by the end of the weekend I’ll finish them.  Then I have to work on the raffle gift basket I need to send with it. I also need to consider submissions for crochet projects.  I’ve got one done so I’m going to try to take pictures of it and send them to the publisher.  My priorities there are coasters, shawl (for submission), gift raffle item, and then other projects for submission.  

I’m also prepping for a blog tour.  Royal Undercover is going on a tour of blogs.  This will be my first one.  I’m very excited about it.

Nine Day Weekend?

I’m on a streak!  I recently won three books!  Hopefully they will be good books and I will enjoy them.  The question will be how will I fit them into my schedule.

One is a physical book and I think the other two are ebooks.  I’m going to have to ask my daughter to help me with those so I can read them easily on my phone.  If I can read them on my phone, I’m more likely to get through them as my kindle is somewhere and maybe not working. 

I’ve got the next nine days off and can’t wait.  I’m sure it will be relaxing – though not likely to involve a lot of outdoor time.  Our temps are in the 90s and heat index hovers over 100.  Not my idea of a good time.  Maybe I can sneak in some time in the mornings – even though it isn’t my favorite time of day. 

Even with the holiday, I’m hoping to get some writing time.  In one of the stories I’m working on, I need to step back and maybe redo a complete scene.  I’m not liking where I’ve ended up.  I may have to sacrifice what I’ve written which in a rough draft I have a hard time doing.  I’ve lost the flow though so it may be necessary.

I’ve got two books I’m hoping to get the edits for the one on the computer and the editing done on the other one.  I’ll have to see as there will be a lot of family time going on over the next week. 

Next Friday, Vicki and I will run all the errands for the weekend.  I’m hoping we will get them all done so the rest of the weekend will be an actual weekend. 

Paperwork and other tortures!

We spent a week in Georgia with the two daughters down there.  The whole family was together and we enjoyed our time.  My youngest daughter got her tonsils out which was the reason for the visit.  She’s recovering.

It was an adventure driving back through a snow storm in Illinois.  We went from making great time to adding three hours to our trip.  By the time we got home, we were all exhausted.

While we were in Georgia, I got to snuggle with all my grand fur babies.  Even Penny who is super shy and nervous came out and got a snuggle with me.  All four cats spent time sleeping on me but Moo spent a lot of time on my legs.  They are all sweet (and mischievous) kittens.

I got most of the crocheting done I wanted to for them.  I didn’t not finish their dresser scarves as working with thread hurts my hands.  I’ll have to limit the amount of time I work with it.  I’ve got Virginia’s about a third of the way done.  I think I’ll put hers and Stephanie’s into a bag and use that as my crochet group project to work on until they are done.  I’ll make progress but will limit the amount of time I’m working with the smaller thread.

Joann’s new store opened yesterday.  It is nice in that there are automatic doors wider aisles, and even a scooter available.  The yarn section wasn’t much bigger which is a little disappointing but they have more crafting stuff.  It will be interesting to see how the store goes forward.

This week for work has been interesting.  It took me two days to get caught up but I’m in a good place and ready to enter schedule this next week.

We’ve had some lousy luck with household things.  Our washer died so we had to order a new one.  Hopefully it arrives tomorrow – I don’t really want to go to the laundromat with all our clothes.  Ken’s truck had to have some major work done.  All of these things cost money of course.  So I’m working on juggling a lot.

Since Ken’s truck is in the shop and I was caught up at work, I stayed home today so he could drive my car to work.  I’ve been working on bills, budget, book sales and other business stuff.  I have a list – when don’t I?  I’m making progress.  I’ve still got mom’s stuff to do so that will be next.

Tomorrow will be errands, grocery shopping, and a variety of other things.  I’m hoping Sunday will be a quiet day I can spend crocheting.

A Daughter’s Loss

Russell Stone 1927

On the way to work the other day, I drove by a piece of land the family used to own.  In my head I heard the phrase, I’ve walked this land.  It played over and over in my head.  When I got to work it came out with a lot of other words in the form of a poem.  

Russ Stone Graduation
The family farm is long gone, owned by other people who have cut down the trees I grew up with and burned down the house my grandfather and father built.  It’s not our land any longer and hasn’t been for a long time.  
However there are moments when I feel so connected, to joined with the land I want to tell the people there to get off.  In reality, I only lived on the land for seventeen years.  Yet part of me is still there

Russell & May 1932

going through the seasons.

Russell & Joan Wedding
In a conversation with a friend, we talked about my dad.  I’ve been thinking of him a lot lately.  I have no idea why but he’s come to my mind a lot in the last month or two.  I’ve wondered a lot about what he would be like if he had lived.  He’d be 91 at this point.  He was a middle aged man when he died.  
Russell and ?? in South Dakota
I wonder what he’d think about my daughters – he didn’t know the younger two.  I wonder what he’d think about me, where I am in life, how my life has turned out.  I wonder how he’d feel about my siblings and how we get along (or don’t).  
Russell & Joan
I wonder how mom would be different if he were still here.  They were always so connected and so much a part of each other.  My friend assured me my father would be proud of me and my daughters.  When I doubted it, she asked me why.  She couldn’t understand how I could doubt whether he would be proud of me.  
He always encouraged us to reach further – within a safe zone – but always further.  He wanted us to reach for the stars (safely).  He didn’t want anyone to tell his daughters they couldn’t be whatever we wanted to be.  It’s been 33 years.  The grief has settled and softened but I still miss him.

Sanity in the Family?

I’ll be the first one to tell you I have a crazy family.  I love them all but sometimes we just don’t get along.  It’s nothing big like the Hatfields and McCoys.  You can’t have strong people get together and not have conflict.

When my mother made me – her youngest daughter – the executor of her estate and her financial power of attorney (back up on medical), I figured it would be a struggle with my siblings. 

Mom’s health took a dive just before Thanksgiving.  I’m not sure what I expected but I didn’t expect all of us to be on the same page.  We text, email, and finally we’ve set up a Google doc to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s going on in mom’s life. 

Starting in the hospital, we would make sure one of us was with mom regularly.  We couldn’t cover her room 24 / 7 but we did get someone there particularly when the doctors came through.  When they wanted to do a risky procedure, we got a call from the sibling at the hospital and had a quick consult.  When they pressured us to do said procedure on subsequent days, we refused and gave each other support. 

Now as she’s been at the nursing home getting antibiotic, we’ve come together to discuss without arguing options and possibilities for the best care.  I’m point person – I’m handling the bills, the communications with the nursing home.  However, one sister is listening to my concerns and stress.  Others are handling mom’s appointments.  A few of us are looking at facilities.  It’s been a collaborative effort in handling all the appointments, problems, paperwork, and stress.

It’s a pleasant surprise to find we can all pull together and come to a consensus on the steps and actions we need to take.  We’re lucky we are all on the same page – it really doesn’t happen often.

To all my sisters and my brother, thank you.  This stressful process could be so much worse.  It isn’t because we are setting aside our own differences and focusing on what is best for mom. 

Where is My Crazy Brain?

In my family, there’s a story my maternal grandmother was a descendant from a Native American.  I’ve heard this story my entire life.  It was interesting to get my DNA testing done and discover where my DNA comes from.  One of which was a slight indicator (1%) of Native American.

But of course, I have two parents.  My father is passed so we couldn’t test him.  However, my mom did get tested and we recently got her results.  There was a lot of similarity in our DNA – as you would expect – but interestingly no Native American, not a trace of it.  This means if there was any (which with such a small percentage it’s debatable) Native American in my lineage, it came through my father’s family.

One of my sisters also got her DNA done and it was fascinating to see the differences between her and I even though we have the same parents.  We were able to see three areas which were not in my mother’s DNA so they are good indicators of our father’s DNA.

I find genetics a fascinating topic and if I were science minded (which I fail at completely) I would go into genetics.  Now it would be interesting to see how the other siblings compare.  I would also love to have my husband and all my daughters tested.  I just have to convince the people and find the money to do it.

We had our rummage sale over the weekend.  We got rid of several of the big items and some of the other stuff.  When it was done, Ken and Vicki filled up her Equinox and took a load to Goodwill.  During the sale, we only sold two big items which was disappointing.  Vicki suggested we post the other items on Facebook.  So I did.  We sold three more items through Facebook.  I have a number of them still posted and we will see what happens.

We still have items in my garage which will need to be loaded into her car and donated.  I’m hoping that will be on the agenda for this weekend.  There were a few other things which were higher dollar items I want to post to Facebook.  Additionally, I have a bunch of crocheting I want to do.  Preventing me is the need to work on my stories.  They’ve been taking over!  I love it but it can also be exhausting.

The next thing for me to prep for is to determine if I’m going to make the attempt do the vendor sale in November.  If I am, I need to make a lot more crocheted items – including a lot more variety.  The thing is I feel if I’m going to do the vendor’s sale, I should be able to take credit cards.  This I’d have to figure out.  It’s a lot of research and I’m not sure I want to hassle with it.  This is why I waffle.

If I do the vendor’s sale, I could take my books and crocheting.  I might be able to put out my books and sell some with more profit going into my pocket.  It’s definitely something to consider.

Right now on my couch, I have a dozen projects but have been so buy writing, I don’t have time to crochet.  I may have to take a Saturday or Sunday to binge watch something and work on finishing projects.  I’ve been getting ideas and ideas and ideas on projects I want to work on so I know I’ll be switching from writing to crocheting in the near future.

Family Holidays

The middle daughter is home.  The presents have been received by the other two daughters.  Everything is ready for the holidays – I think.

Friday night will be video holiday with all of my family.  I’m looking forward to seeing their faces when they open their gifts.  I’m sure I’ll hear corny jokes, laughter, and all the other things which go with family gatherings.

I miss the times we would spend together playing games, watching movies and so on.  However, they are in Georgia and we are in Wisconsin.  Ken can’t get off around a holiday and Virginia is working every day except Friday.  We will adjust and adapt while we make the most of the time we do have together.

Saturday Ken will go to his family.  I don’t know whether I will go or not yet.  It depends on my sinus issues and the weather.

Sunday is my family gathering.  I’m not sure whether we are going or not – for the same reasons above.

Tonight Vicki and I will be clipping coupons, checking the rebates, and making a list for batch cooking.  At some point we are going to make some large batches of food for the freezer.  I’ll have to pay bills in order to figure out how much we will have to spend on groceries.  We’re going to make a list of where we’re going and what we need to pick up.  It will be a busy day on Friday.

Since I have off, Vicki and I will spend the day running errands, shopping, and getting ready for the family thing Friday night.  It will be a very busy day.

Next week will be full of cooking, crocheting, and spending time with Vicki.  I’m hoping to finish a few projects for her (writing up the patterns of course).  However, we’ll see what trouble we get into.