We've just passed Thomas's 29th birthday. This year, no cake. We had been invited to a retirement party for my daughter's ex-father-in-law (and we are determined, no matter what our kids do, to stay friends) in the evening: Bob shares Thomas's birthday as well. Unfortunately, Richard and I started our day by going to a funeral for a former deacon in our church. I should probably have elected to stay home, I decided about halfway through. Nothing terrible happened, but I begin to feel that I should hire out as a professional mourner. Almost nine years on, and I still wonder when I cry if I'm crying for the recently deceased or for my son who will never come home.
Between the funeral and the party, Richard and I went to the cemetery to bring flowers and remember Thomas. It was really, really hot and his grave is not sheltered at all from the sun so we did not stay long.
I didn't want to just let the birthday go by so I posted a picture on Facebook (Thomas with Matthew and Maria) with the message that this would have been his 29th. I put it out there for everyone to read. There are a couple of pages I belong to for Gold Star families and those families always put something up about their loved one, but I don't know if they put anything on their newsfeed. On the other hand, many of my Facebook friends are Gold Star mothers or knew Thomas or knew me when Thomas was killed. It just seems useless and maybe unkind to be coy about it. But, I also do not want to make everyone else wallow in my grief. I expect that it will be clear enough when to stop posting these things.