I am beginning to wonder if I'm a little addicted to--this sounds a little odd but--good works. I've done PTA stuff almost continuously since we moved here to Montgomery County in 1993 (I did a couple of years worth in Prince George's County too, but our school was less organized). I would occasionally take breaks of a few months, though thinking back, I'd end up as president of the PTA or in some other position when I returned. My last and longest break occurred the year and a half after Thomas died, though I had to finish out the 2004-05 year because I was president that year. I probably should have quit then but, since I was not thinking too clearly, I did not. However, I did not return as president and took off all of Matthew's 8th grade year (I remember going to one meeting and feeling like a ghost--no one spoke to me) and some of 9th grade in his high school. But then Richard told me he'd sort of like me to start up again--I think it was a bid for normal life maybe. And so I did. A county position came up and I took it, and have found the last three years interesting and fun, and I hope productive.
But now that is coming to an end as Matthew finishes high school. And I seem to be replacing my PTA time with the Veterans' Commission and the Library Memorials and the Gold Star Mothers of Maryland and the informal contacts that I've made with local mothers and with Laurie . . . There is no question that losing a child in war puts you in an unusual position. Not that many people have lost children this time around, thank you God, when you consider the losses in Viet Nam or World War II. But that means there are fewer of us to do some of the same kinds of jobs--speaking and advocating and generally serving as reminders of what has been lost. I feel that this is where I belong now, where I've been put. I just hope and pray that I will continue to have the heart to do it.