Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My technical skills do not extend to embedding the clip from MSNBC about the departure of the 4/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Iraq: they are the last combat troops and they are driving their vehicles to Kuwait as I type. It is odd to think that this is the end of the Strykers in Iraq. For the last six years really (since I didn't really know about them before Thomas began talking a bit in the summer of 2004), I have been aware that various Stryker Brigades have been in Iraq, in Mosul and then Baghdad. I have prayed for their safety and mourned when they have died. Now it seems that my mission is over too. I feel oddly bereft, even though it is a good thing that they are not being shot at or living in danger of rolling over an IED. But, maybe someone can understand this even if I can't, it's as if that last piece of Thomas now goes too. His part of this conflict is over. Operation Iraqi Freedom has been completed.

Conflict rolls on in Afghanistan--I will still be praying. A new mission.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It is August 11, 2010. When this started, I noted the 11th of every month as a sort of anniversary. I guess it's a measure of how far we've come that I no longer do that, at least not compulsively. But this day is 3 months short of the 6th anniversary of Thomas's death. I miss him. I miss the balance he gave to our family--the commonsense of a guy who did not like pretentious books, who minded his own business and asked us to do the same, who showed up for dinner and never made his bed when he was home. The loyal friend. But this is where we are: we have our memories and our pictures, and the little bit of writing that he left us. We have two videotapes (got to have those moved to digital media soon) of talks he gave in high school as part of his International Baccalaureate program. In our living room we have a cabinet that contains the papers relating to his death, the cards and letters from friends and relatives and strangers, pictures, and a triangular case holding the flag that draped his casket. I'd so much rather have the warmth of his presence.