Pumpkin Patch, 2012
We are approaching the date. It will have been eight years and yet I am still surprised every year by how hard it is. I finally gave up and told one of my very young co-workers at the fabric store what had happened and why I was just a little more fragile and unwilling to deal with difficult people than usual. He took it pretty well. It probably did not escape his notice that he is the age now that Thomas was when he was killed.
I have kind of gotten over the need to tell total strangers about Thomas all of the time. Today however, I went to a pumpkin patch and found myself talking about being a Gold Star Mother to a husband and wife who were just trying to raise their alpacas and sell a little merchandise. I tried on a sweater (which I did buy) and the friend who was with me pointed out that I could wear it when doing my public speaking gigs. The alpaca farmer asked what I speak about and, after a longish pause in which I looked at Pat and she looked at me, I told him it was difficult but he claimed to be willing to hear what I had to say. So I told him I am a Gold Star Mother, that my son was killed in Iraq in 2004 on Veterans Day. I got a little teary-eyed once or twice but this gentleman and his wife were willing listeners, did not look embarrassed, and expressed both sympathy and gratitude. All I can say is, whatever they were expecting to hear, this wasn't it but they were truly gracious.