Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The chairs, or the lack of them, kind of haunts me. Two children in our neighborhood have died in automobile accidents in the last several months and both families had people spilling over on to the front porch and the driveway. They seemed to have dozens of folding chairs and the people to fill them. We found some chairs too, but it was cold, being November, and in the end our friends and neighbors preferred to stand in the kitchen and living room. We recently bought new furniture for the living room, but I think that we are still short of places to sit down.


I made Richard tell our extended families. I didn't want my sister to be alone when she heard so he called her husband first. He called his own brother so he could tell their mother in person.

Our phone rang nonstop for hours that Thursday and Friday as more people heard, and then as Thomas's name was released on the evening of the 12th. Our oldest daughter Anna was standing on the porch smoking: at about 8 pm Friday she came inside and said "The press is here. What do we do?" My husband and I had agreed that he and I would not speak to them but Anna was free to do as she wished. Two of the neighbors went out with her on the porch as three local television stations filmed an interview simultaneously, and a print reporter took notes. When we saw the stories later we were so proud of our daughter who told her brother's story with dignity and a few tears as well as many smiles because Thomas had been a funny guy. Ten months later, I saw an interview with the surviving brother of another soldier--the sound had been turned down on the television for some reason but I recognized the look on that man's face and when I turned up the sound I learned that his sister had been a soldier, killed in Iraq.

Today we are waiting for confirmation that two bodies found in Iraq belong to the soldiers who were abducted two days ago. One of the soldiers is named Thomas, the other is Kristian which is also a family name for us. I felt connected enough already--but last night when we learned their names I started crying.


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