Friday, July 30, 2010

Up early, unable to sleep due to the jet lag that always plagues me when I travel to the West Coast and back, I heard a story on NPR about a Marine family whose father/husband had committed suicide after his Iraq deployment. I wasn't listening carefully to the beginning of the story (not actually being alert, just awake) but it finally dawned on me what they were talking about so I started paying attention near the end. Not precisely a happy ending, but a hopeful one, as the surviving wife and children (teenagers or older by now I expect as this death was four years ago) finally connected with TAPS and were welcomed as the family of a man who had died in the service of his country. The mom has become a peer mentor. The story was very complimentary to TAPS, though the reporter kept giving the entire name, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, as if the acronym were incomprehensible.

We had a good trip to Washington. We didn't do any Thomas related things, though staying at my sister's and seeing so much family reminded me of the last weekend we spent with him in October of 2004. But, there were almost no tears this time. Time does change some things about grief.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Life seems to have settled down a bit, except for the vacationing part. We are going to Washington state in a few days to visit family, and there won't be time to get to Fort Lewis to look at the memorial which makes me a little sad. I am trying to get over the feeling that we have to mark absolutely every occasion having to do with Thomas. This year I did not get to Mass on his birthday for instance and felt a bit guilty about that. But life and the living intervene a lot, and I suppose it's in the natural course of events that our lives sort of close over the hole left by this loss. It's not a seamless closure of course. Though I missed Mass, we did buy a cake for the day, a lovely chocolate cake with frosting balloons on the top. I did not have anything written on the cake. We remembered the birthday when he did not get the first piece and then spent (as his other sister said on her Facebook page) "the next decade bitching about it" though it was not quite a decade as he was 13 the year that happened and he died at 20. We did not sing happy birthday (which really would have been morbid) but we did spend some time talking about Thomas and enjoying the cake in his memory.