The Connolly Family

The Adventures of Matt, Shannon, Liam & Paige

What A Morning.

This morning started out normally enough.  Liam and I ate breakfast and got dressed and ready to run a couple errands.

The first stop was at World Market where I went to look for alphabet pretzels for my mom (which is a long story and much less interesting than the one I’m going to tell).  I searched all over the store for them and after having no luck, I reached for my phone to give her a call and find out if there were any acceptable substitutes for pretzels shaped like the letter E.  When I opened it up I found that I had a slew of missed calls and one new voicemail.  I also discovered that my battery was low, but since I’ve been holding my breath for weeks waiting for a call back from Liam’s pediatrician about the H1N1 shot I went ahead and listened to the message before calling my mom.  It was the message I’d been waiting for and it was from yesterday afternoon.  The nurse who left the message said that there were a limited number of shot appointments available for today and Saturday morning.  I panicked and put everything in our cart back on the shelves and ran outside to plug my phone into the charger and call the nurse back.  It was at this point that I realized that somehow, at some point, my phone was put on silent, hence the missed call.  I called the nurse back and left a message praying that my ringer mishap wasn’t going to cost Liam the vaccine we’ve been waiting for for a month.  I also called Matt and left him a message to let him know what was going on.

I continued on to my next errand, hoping that the phone would get juiced enough to use by the time I got there.  Unfortunately I had thrown it into my lap when I got ready to pull out of the parking lot and it had apparently dislodged the charger, so by the time I got to the Target, there was nothing left.  I decided that it was a sign and didn’t even get out of the car.  I just plugged the thing back in and tried to figure out how to proceed.  I was in the process of calling my mom to ask if she had thought of any substitutes for E-shaped pretzels when Matt rang in on the other line.  I assumed he was returning my call from a few minutes earlier.  He wasn’t.

Matt:  “Where have you been?  I’ve been calling you all morning.”

[Matt calling me multiple times is never a good thing, so I immediately acquired a rock in my stomach.]

Shannon:  “We’re out running errands.  Apparently my phone was on silent.  Why have you been calling me all morning?”

Matt:  “Have you seen the AJC this morning?”

Shannon:  “No.”

Matt:  “Well, there’s an article in there about a SWAT standoff at Kirk Road and S. Candler.  I called my parents to see if they were okay and if they knew anything.  I talked to my mom.  It’s William Studstill.”

Shannon:  “Oh God.  What happened?”

Matt:  “Shannon, he killed his wife.  He was holed up in his mom’s house with a knife.  He killed his wife.”

William Studstill was in my graduating class at Decatur.  He lived down the street from Matt.  We knew he’d had mental health issues as of late, and there’d always been something off about him, but no one ever thinks that someone that they grew up with is capable of this kind of thing.  This is certainly not the story we expected to read when we woke up this morning.

News travels fast in our little town.  By the time I checked out of Liam’s doctor at 2:50, Tangie (who works at the office and also was in my graduating class) already knew and asked me if I’d heard the news.  We both knew to which news she was referring.

I’m just sitting here.  Stunned.  I realize that I am truly a mother now, because my first thought was how awful his mother must feel.  He is her only child.  Then I thought about his wife’s parents.  I cannot imagine how any of them feel and hopefully I won’t ever have to.  I definitely hugged Liam a little bit harder today.


  1. I feel sick about it all, and this was the first I heard about it

  2. I know. It’s definitely one of those things that’s so big that it’s hard to find the words to describe it fully. I told Matt that watching the story about it on the news last night was kind of like watching a viral video where you type your name in and they insert it into the “news story.” Surreal.

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