Thursday, November 16, 2006

This past Saturday went well. It was a beautiful day, just like the day Thomas died. This year, we went in shifts to the cemetery. My daughter and her boyfriend went early in day and left three roses. Then they noticed two young men looking lost--Anna wondered if they were looking for Thomas's grave and went over to them. They were indeed; one who was his close friend we had met once before, and the other someone we had not yet met and I'm sorry I don't know much about except he had known Thomas too and needed to come. They had brought a patch from their uniforms, the lightning bolt, and left it on the marker. They told Anna they just could not see us this year,(it was just too hard I think) maybe next year, and returned to their homes, eight hours away. My husband, mother-in-law and I came later and found Anna's flowers and the patch, which left us wondering. We also brought flowers (mainly to feed the deer) and set them in the vase that is part of the marker. While we stood there in the sunlight, one of Thomas's local friends appeared. Brian was dressed all in black (a fashion statement I think, though certainly appropriate). He took up a place at the grave next to us. We talked about the frog pond he and Thomas had built in our backyard when they were in 5th grade--the frogs are long gone but the sheltering bamboo the boys planted is still there. My mother-in-law was tiring--it's hard for her to stand on her arthritic ankles and knees--so we said goodbye to Brian who stayed a bit longer and made our way home.

A stranger had asked that the Saturday evening Mass at our parish be for Thomas so we went. We had told a few of our friends about this who apparently told a few more and so more people than we had expected appeared and sat behind us, people who had known Thomas since he was nine, people who had known him from the day he was born. It was really nice. I did cry, I always cry. Afterwards, many of us returned to our house and ate pizza and watched all of the children who had been babies two years ago wander around exploring my house and eating their dinner. I think Thomas would have like all of it.

One thing I did on Saturday that I rarely do was to Google his name. I found an entry to a blog that talked about him and posted a comment which may have brought a few people here. I am grateful beyond words to have found this entry which talks about Thomas during basic training: because it fills in a few more blank spots for us, and it also shows the immense affection Thomas could inspire in his family and friends (we also got exasperated with him!). My own blog is primarily meant to record details I'm afraid my aging memory is going to lose, and to share with anyone who is interested what the experience of losing a child in a war is like.

I'll write about the funeral another day.


At November 21, 2006 at 9:45:00 AM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee Ann,
It was good to hear you had a good day. Thank you for posting the comment from Thomas' fellow soldier. What a gift that was for you. I also look to fill in the blanks of how things were for Chase in the army. God bless you and may your Thanksgiving be filled with Thomas sharing.
Laurie, Chase's mom


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