Merry Christmas! We did have a less difficult Christmas than it had been for the last several years. Anna's fiance Mike spent the day with us and sort of filled the role of young adult male. I think it is entirely possible that Thomas would have enjoyed knowing Mike and certainly Mike has filled an empty niche for Matthew. This question of families reconfiguring after a death: it had never occurred to me before Thomas died, but I guess the deaths I had experienced before had all been of older people whose children had left home and created their own lives and families. Without Thomas there is a gap in our family, but now Anna is moving on and thinking about starting her own family, beginning with her wedding in August, so things are changing anyway . . .
In March of 2005, we also moved Richard's mother, Thomas's grandmother, to a senior apartment near us. It was a distraction but it was also necessary for her to be near us (my sister-in-law had a disabling stroke in March of 2004 which made it necessary for us to take responsibility for Grandma). We spent several weeks shopping for furniture and necessities for a new apartment, something she really enjoyed and which I was glad to do. Thomas had loved shopping--as I said earlier, he loved buying new clothes--when he was a younger kid, we could always make him feel better by buying a flashlight. We have the world's best collection of flashlights. Shopping for Grandma just seemed like something he would understand.
And then April happened. I think I want to be wide awake when I talk about April of 2005 in detail (it's almost midnight here!)