"I wave and I say, 'Hi, Pascal,' and 'I miss you,'" he said. "I bow my head. I say, 'You're going to tease me for being a grandfather.' There are many little moments I have like that."

For Alice Fay Buchanan, one of the hardest moments of the past year came on Mother's Day. The year before, her son had surprised her by picking her up in a rented convertible to take her to breakfast.

"I said, 'I'm not going to ride in that and have my hair blown,' and he said, 'Yes, you can, today you can.' He rolled the windows up so my hair wouldn't get blown," she recalled. "He gave me $100 and flowers. I had gravy and biscuits, and he had an egg and tomato omelet."

As they have struggled to heal emotionally, the families have struggled as well with practical concerns. Lori Lewis-Rivera's husband, Nelson Rivera, a Honduran-American landscaper, is raising their 5-year-old daughter alone. He considered moving in with his in-laws in Idaho but decided to stay in Washington.

"He was having some troubles with schedules and work, the last time I talked to him," said Lewis, Rivera's father-in-law. "I'm not sure if he's found any solutions."

Suspects on trial

Still looming is the start of Muhammad's trial Oct. 14 and Malvo's on Nov. 10.

The courtroom, some relatives hope, could provide some explanation for the crimes. Others dread revisiting the shootings and facing the accused.

"How are people even going to sit there and look at this guy who destroyed all your family?" Walekar said.

The families are divided about the possible outcome. Some say it is in the court's hands to decide whether Malvo and Muhammad, if convicted, will receive the death penalty, as prosecutors are seeking.

Lewis has no such equanimity. Both should be sentenced to die, he says. For Lewis, the only question is why defendants facing such a weight of evidence should have the benefit of a prolonged and expensive trial.

"I'd like to go to the execution. Actually, I'd like to go to the state and work for the executioner, though I don't think they'd go for that," said Lewis, who decided not to attend the trials. "My personal thought is, bring both those boys out here, and I'll save them a lot of money real quick."

Charlot does not desire vengeance. But he, too, wants a chance to confront the defendants in person.

"If there were a possibility to see the guys, I would say, 'What did my cousin do to you?' I would like to ask that question," he said. "If I got a chance to ask him, 'Why did you shoot my cousin and all those people?' I might feel satisfied."