I finally bought new running shoes today--let's hope they get me through this race!
Wednesday morning, six days after Thomas's death. My cousin Nancy and her husband Ron, a Viet Nam vet, arrived at Dulles having taken a red-eye from Seattle. They rented a car and made their way to my house, a further hour away, bearing two pounds of Sumatra coffee (which I'm pretty sure we immediately brewed) and looking a trifle the worse for wear. However, they gamely stayed up the rest of day. At some point I took my sister and brother-in-law, and Nan and Ron to Costco to buy an inflatable bed and other supplies. Why this seemed like a sensible thing to do I don't know. I drove my small SUV the ten miles which for some reason made me feel like a normal human being again, someone competent enough to actually go out on the road with only the usual concerns about traffic. (Costco stores all look the same, no matter where they are, so this was obviously not to show off our wonderful store.)
This was sort of the pause before the final storm as the wake was Thursday and the funeral Friday, so we were still living in a sort of anticipation. One other important phone call had come during the week--the parents of Thomas's best friend in the Army, David. Kay and Richard live in Ohio and they were coming to the funeral, bringing us a picture of our two sons together taken during one of their training sessions on the Stryker vehicles. Anna had put together three photo collages of Thomas from babyhood to basic training and this photo would round that out the collection. Thomas had not talked about David or any of his Army friends to us except in a very tangential way: he was a master at keeping his life compartmentalized and even in high school we were continually finding out he had friends we had never heard of, all of whom called him Tommy. We were very glad to have David's parents with us though, as of course all the boys were still in Iraq.