I feel awful. This is basically an emotional hangover, not swine flu or a more conventional hangover. Yesterday, I was part of a panel that spoke to Maryland mental health professionals who want to work with returning veterans and their families and even though I feel it went well, it is still very, very draining. I kept thinking of the things I should have said *too* though thankfully I have not thought of anything I should definitely *not* have said. We laughed, we cried. I tried to be honest, and I tried to be a little funny because I think that Thomas would have much preferred it that way. It was not about Thomas anyway, it was about the rest of us and our survival.
After I left the seminar (we were the last session) and also left the discussion after the session where I got to hear a couple of stories of the people in front of me, also heartrending, I moved my car a couple of blocks and went to a restaurant across from the Regal theatres and had a glass of wine and some of the most deadly potato chips I've ever seen. They featured blue cheese and maybe sour cream and chives . . . the wine was a little more conventional. Then I walked around the Rockville Public Library (someday it will be Memorial) for about 45 minutes, checked out a book, and then left to go to the MCCPTA Legislative dinner, a couple of miles north.
I was still wearing my Gold Star Banner pin on my lapel--for some reason I was inordinately proud of my new clothes, including a nice jacket that let that pin shine out--and got to answer questions about what it meant. I don't often wear anything that overtly says "I am a Gold Star Mother" because for one thing, a lot of people have no idea of the significance of the Gold Star. Last night, it seemed to be right and appropriate to begin the education of those who were lucky enough to not know. I think I did it gently, but today I am as exhausted as if I had run a marathon.