So, back to the summer of 2005.
I had gone to New York to meet with Anne and her family, then her husband returned home while her son came with her to our house outside of Washington. We did a lot of tourist things: the Spy Museum unexpectedly being sort of a hit with Matthew, and visiting the West Wing of the White House. For anyone who is interested, the Press Room really was in dire need of renovation, or at least a really good cleaning, and I do not begrudge the press corps the improved quarters they received recently.
July brought us Thomas's birthday. This turned out to be unexpectedly hard, though I guess we should have realized. Both of the parishes Thomas had ever belonged to had Masses for him on that day: St. John the Baptist in Silver Spring, and St. James in Mt. Rainier MD. As we have not mastered the art of bilocation, we sent Maria and Matthew to the St. John's mass and took Edith to St. James, where our Cardinal Archbishop, Theodore McCarrick was saying the liturgy. This was coincidence but it was nice nonetheless, and Cardinal McCarrick said a few words about Thomas before he started. We were happy to be back in the parish where all of our children were baptized.
A couple of days after the birthday, I got a phone call from the lender of one of our car loans. I had totally spaced this payment, which was done by coupon, and mailed it at the very end of the grace period. Of course they didn't get it on time and they were wondering where their money was. My dialogue with the customer service rep was a little odd, as I told her that yes, I had mailed it the day before, and then she asked me if the money was a problem. And at that point, I told her no, money was not the problem, that we had lost our son in Iraq the previous November and that his 21st birthday would have been earlier that week. I ended up crying and she ended up saying no problem, they would not put a late fee on the payment (I think she must have marked that account permanently, because I was late one other time and never heard a word). I never meant to tell her that, but she was very kind and it seemed important to me at that moment to appear to be a responsible person, if distracted by my grief.