Two mothers cry together

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Sharon Churchey broke into tears.

As she read through the names in the guest book, her eyes focused on two.

"And I just started bawling," she said.

There in her book were the names of the mother and brother of the man who killed her daughter before killing himself.

Mary Rasmussen, Mary's son Eric, and two of Mary's grandchildren had attended her daughter's memorial service on Tuesday.

"I called (Mary) on the phone right away," Sharon said. "She was very receptive to my call. Just mother to mother, we cried together on the phone and just comforted each other. She lost a son. He was her son. I felt her pain.

"I thought it was incredible that she came to the service. It took a lot of courage."

It has been little more than a week since each of the mothers lost a child. Chris Rasmussen entered Shelly Hachenberger's Hawaii Circle home, shot her and then took his own life. Chris was 48 and Shelly was 40.

"Right now, we're just trying to digest all of this," Sharon said. "We're just hanging in there as best as we can."

Mary Rasmussen is also hanging in there, but she can barely talk on the phone for more than a few minutes before the tears come.

"I guess that I'm doing as well as expected," she said. "It seems like it's not getting any easier."

She went to a memorial service for her son at St. Teresa of Avila Church on Wednesday.

Her daughter and son-in-law then took Chris' ashes to be strewn across Pyramid Lake as he wished.

"I don't think that anything is going to help me," Mary said. "I think it's going to take a lot of time. I see things that remind me of him."

Support is coming in small packages. On Thursday, she received a letter from a Carson City woman who said she had lost her own son and then shared fond memories of Chris from a ski trip she chaperoned when he was young.

"It really lifted my spirits," Mary said.

During the course of her son's relationship with Shelly, Mary came to know the woman and her daughters well. She often took the two girls to church.

"I loved Shelly and her little girls," she said. "I just loved them and I always loved them. I still want to do anything I can to help them."

Both Sharon and Dave Churchey and Mary Rasmussen were surprised at the number of people who showed up at their children's services. Both described the support as incredible.

As the relationship between the two deteriorated, Hachenberger had obtained a stalking order against Rasmussen about a month prior to the shooting.

He was arrested on July 11 for violating that order.

However, Dave Churchey asks that people practice spreading love and not hate during this difficult time.

"You hear so much about the system failing," he said. "The system didn't fail. What failed was the fact that the system was not strong enough."

-Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.


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