Define Appropriate.


I am still here.

It seems like my days fly away before I even know what is happening.  It’s been a busy summer of bike riding, events, bookish stuff, and spending time with friends.  Good things. Things I need to do.  Things I want to do.

The bench.

Those of you who know me know I spend a  good deal of time working with our local library.  You also may know about the bench outside the library in memory of my son.  Can I say my heart runs over with love for all who had a part in this happening?

That bench.

Every time I pull in to the library parking lot I see it.  Sometimes there are things left on it… notes, flowers, a rock that says trust… What seems to take my breath away – is seeing people sitting on it.  Justin’s bench sits between two others.  To me… it feels as though it is used more and that makes me so happy and sad at the same time.  Does that make sense?  Happy because he would love this whole idea of a bench… and  that quote, and people enjoying it…..  Sad because… well hell…. why does there have to be a bench in the first place?

A few weeks back I walked out of the library and saw a man sitting on the bench.  I had this sudden urge to go over and hug him.  Of course then I think… how appropriate is that?  Scare this poor man sitting on a bench unknowingly being observed by the mother of the boy who the bench is dedicated to?  And define appropriate.  I honestly am not sure I know what it means anymore… my filter for where to draw the line is pretty much gone.  I live it true – I live it real.  So what if I scare someone on the bench?

But of course…. I don’t approach him.  I just take myself teary eyed to my car and drive away.

Then today….

I am leaving the library and I see a boy in his 20’s sitting on the bench.  My pace slows.  I look at him and he sees me and smiles.  That urge… that urge to go over and talk to him about who Justin was simmers right there… right at the edge of moving me that direction but instead…. I smile back..  My eyes fill…. I walk away.

Define appropriate…




Today… working on a contract. Mowing the lawn.  Riding my bike.  Hopefully writing a review and breaking that seal on this site where I start to write and gush about books again.  I do miss it.  I do miss you.

WHAT are you reading?


21 thoughts on “Define Appropriate.

  1. I think that 20 year old man would have been honored to have shared your story..askingto talk tohim my view..78 year old retired librarian..would have been appropriate …and comforting to you.

  2. Oh my dearest Sheila. You are constantly in my thoughts and my prayers, always. I just read a book by Julie Cantrell and in it she writes about this guy who thought no one cared, sat outside a walmart for 3 hours waiting for just one person to smile at him. No one did.

    Go with your instinct lovely. Hug the old man. smile at the young one. sit and talk with anyone that moves your heart. We all crave connection.

    Sending you love and a hug from the south 🙂

  3. You are amazing! And I am honored to call you my friend!

    On the other note, I just started reading Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf. Have you read it? Not a book club read but needed one to read for now.

  4. The way you write Sheila just moves me. Thank you 🙂 And next time you get the feeling to stop and talk about Justin or to just give someone a hug, listen to that whisper and do it. You never know what it could mean to someone else to hear your heart!

  5. I love this post, Sheila. If it was me on the bench I’d be honored if you said hello and wanted to talk more.
    I’m reading A Most Extraordinary Pursuit – about 1/3 in. I’d describe it as quietly amusing but it’s not completely grabbing me. That’s ok. I’m craving a good audiobook.

  6. Please share Justin’s story with those who use the bench. Your heart will know when it’s someone you ‘should’ approach. I think that 20ish y/o man would have enjoyed hearing of your son…and it would be good for you, too. {{Hugs}}

    I’m reading Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello for our library book club this month.

  7. So good to hear how you are doing. We all miss you but understand. So sad for you but proud of your courage.

  8. Sheila, it is wonderful to see you posting again. The bench is a beautiful tribute to your son. I hope the week is a good one, as we head toward the new season.

  9. “…well hell…. why does there have to be a bench in the first place?” is right. I am a Star Trek fan, so I send these words from Spock: “…do yourself a favor: Put aside logic. Do what feels right.”

    As to what I am reading.> The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve had to pretty much set it aside to grade papers, but this first book in the Kingkiller series is calling to me always, as books do, “Come and finish me! You know you so want to…” And, I so do.

    I am also thinking I would love to reread the Sabriel series and Garth Nix’s prequel, Clariel, before his newest, Goldenhand comes out- soon, so soon!

    Thank you for sharing your grief and powerful love with us. I wish some how that knowing we are here gives you some ounce of comfort. Please do your best to remember to turn on the light.

  10. It’s 7.30pm and I’m just now getting below 50 emails! Been limping along with a laptop lite and a dying NOOK HD+. Can’t get out to the tech wizards for a week or so. Can’t just download…. have to save to downloads and reload back up…. which can be a pain.

    But I wrote about ten reviews during this time. And, isn’t it Banned Book Week? Got a few ARCs and the second volume of The Star Trek Experience.

    As for “the bench” hun, what your feeling is normal….

  11. There is a park we go to and there are a bunch of dedicated benches. I always walk by, or sit on them, and wonder about the people. Some of them are clear that they are younger people, but some have no info at all other than names. I am not sure what I would think if the person that loved these people came over and told me their stories, but I probably wouldn’t mind or think it is inappropriate. But then I do like stories…

  12. Sheila, I love hearing that you’ve been so busy doing things you want and need to do 😀

    And with the bench—I see many people agree that, if you’re moved to do so—if there’s a part of you that is compelling you—you should approach whoever it is that’s sitting on the bench when you feel that way. Ask them if there’s a reason why they picked that bench, introduce yourself. Perhaps they knew Justin and you don’t know that. Perhaps it’s because there’s a Dumbledore saying on it. Perhaps there’s no specific reason. They may ask about Justin. If you want to hug them, ask them if they mind (I can’t imagine anyone would), and do it. Do it for you, do it for Justin. It may not only mean something to you—it may mean something to the person/people sitting there. You never know who’ll you get to know oxoxox

  13. Why does there have to be a bench? I get it, Sheila. There is a bench at The Ohio State University outside of the Architecture Building in memory of Greg. Every time we go there, I sit on the bench and wonder the same thing. It will be twelve years next month, and the ache is still here. I will never understand.
    What is appropriate? Simply say, “That bench is in honor of my son, may I give you a hug?” Most people will gladly give you a hug.
    We have experienced every parents’ nightmare. People cannot comprehend the degree of loss, but they understand it is overwhelming.
    Why does there have to be a bench? It’s there to remind all that a beautiful being graced this earth, if only for a short time. Love and hugs, my friend.

  14. Good to see you, Sheila! And hear your most touching and lovely story about Justin’s bench. I agree with those who say ‘go ahead and hug, talk, visit, sit with’ the bench people. You do never know what might come of it – in such a good and powerful way. So, I’ll put my ‘church’ hat on and say – perhaps it’s the still, small voice urging – God prompts us and sometimes we listen and sometimes we move along. You just never know.

    I’m reading mysteries and thrillers, as usual. And, I’ll have a ‘Banned Books Week’ post up on Sunday. Please feel free to stop by. Hugs to you. Prayers always.

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