It has been interesting to see who has read my previous entry. Of course, I can't really tell who they are, but I can see where some people came from--and a lot of them came from a John Cusack fan site. I hope that they found what I had to say interesting and I am glad they found there way over here.
Here in the depths of January, it is kind of funny to be thinking about the spring of 2005, which was warm and sunny in my memory. The sun is shining today, but it's only about 40 degrees here and we are expecting snow tomorrow. The library saga has moved on: the county executive has made a definite decision to not name it for his predecessor, but he has not made a definite decision to name it anything else either. We've written a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, which carried the story: they've contacted us to verify its authenticity so it may be printed by the end of the week which means I can't put it here! [The letter has appeared in this morning's Washington Post (1/24/08), www.washingtonpost.com under the opinions tab--I find their site a little balky but apparently I can't just put a link here]
But that spring: Matthew had been going to school- 7th grade, and, as far as I could tell, the kids had been treating him very gently. Sometime in that spring, one boy started lobbing food at him in the cafeteria and Matthew threw it back. No adults saw this incident (that place was chaos at the best of times) but I took it as a sign that his fellow students were beginning to feel that Matthew was all right, healed enough to be teased a little. It never escalated, and the kid never bothered Matthew again: it just seemed that the other kids had put him back into the normal population, which was an excellent place to be.
As a result of Governor Ehrlich's reception, I realized that our isolation from the other families in Maryland had been a serious problem for us. Some of the other families had met because their sons were Marines (who seemed to be able to band together better), and some of course are buried near each other Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. Those families have formed a community in the last year or so, but in 2005 that was still in the future. Since the Governor's staff had all offered any help they could give, I began to toy with the idea of asking whether they would help me contact the other families to form some sort of support group or network. This remained an idea-only for the next couple of months until I worked up the courage to call.
A couple of days after the reception, we had received a letter from Thomas's first sergeant, Michael Bordelon. It was a great letter, reassuring us that Thomas had not been forgotten, and giving us a few details about the action Thomas had seen during his time in Mosul. Richard began composing a reply. However, on the evening of May 10, I read the StrykerNews website and found that Michael had died as the result of injuries received on April 23rd. We were heartbroken. I posted a comment about the letter and the kind of man he was: it was picked up by one of the Washington (state) papers, which pleased me a lot (they pulled up a little information about Thomas to frame the quote). And, it resulted in an invitation to post on the Stryker forum (I could have joined earlier if I'd just realized but this was not a highly alert moment in my life). There I met Laurie Whitham, whose son Chase was lost in May of 2004. Laurie called me: we connected over our sons, but also over quilting and other things we had in common. Sometimes I think our sons in heaven must have conspired to bring us together. As far as I know, Thomas and Chase never met on this earth but in eternity, who knows?