Since there's not much on television on Saturday nights in May, we were just watching some interviews about The Blade Runner (a long, rambling and rather boring prelude to a screening of the movie itself).
In one of the quick little clips from the movie, a character said something like this: "...you know what they say, the brightest candles burn half as long...", which of course made me think of Thomas.
He didn't even get half a normal life span, but he certainly continues to burn bright - even so long after his life here was extinguished.
At first I thought how marvelous it is of My Beloved and I to have kept his flame burning so brightly - and we do in our own way - but I quickly realized that the reason so many people can see his light (and tell us so) is because they keep it lit. Not us, them.
After all this time I'll still get e-mails out of the blue from someone telling me that Thomas has been on their mind - and that he won't ever be forgotten. And we still get notices of random acts of kindness in the mail on an almost regular basis. Last week it was a donation to a women's health centre in Nova Scotia - thank you so much, Julie. The week before it was a donation to a Moms and Tots group at a local church (the proceeds went towards the purchase of a Thomas the Tank Engine activity table and toys) - thank you, Auntie Margo.
Around his birthday there was a flurry of donations made in his name and many, many good deeds done in his honour, by friends, family and strangers alike.
I've kept a record of each and every kind thing. Not only do they bring me peace and make me unbelievably proud of my son, they remind me that there is still good in this often cold, cruel world. There is kindness and love, and people willing to give both so freely and unselfishly that it stuns me.
I'll never understand why Thomas had to die. I don't understand why one child lives and another is torn from its family and this earth before it even has a chance to open its eyes. But I'm at the point in my grieving where I can see - really see - the good that has come from his time on this earth - and from its brevity.
I want him back - I would still give my life in exchange for his. Nothing is worth more than his life to me. Nothing. But I'm slowly and surely seeing the big picture - seeing the impact his life had in a way that brings me comfort. There's still pain - there will always be agonizing pain - but there's a measure of comfort now too.
Maybe I'm just deluding myself. Maybe this is all a mind game I'm playing and happen to be winning right now. But whatever the case, I'm happier and more at peace. I could always see the good in Thomas' life. I've never once - even for one split second - regretted having him, and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat for those 9 months and 20 hours. But these days I'm taking more comfort in the impact he had on my life and on the lives of everyone he touched.
I wish it didn't take so long for these epiphanies. The cruelest part of the healing process is that it takes so damn long.
And that it's a process that never really ends.