So as the soldiers of a now much changed Charles Street converge upon the battlefield of grief, we plan the picnic.
Our grief is never faced with an empty stomach.
We eat our feelings.
It’s a good thing.
Some people drink their feelings.
Sometimes we do that too.
So amid friends, acquaintances and a family that has seen more loss than most, we prepare ourselves for the cycle of physical adios and the deliverance to the formidable gates of eternity.
We begin our goodbye to one of our last VIPs.
It’s a sad, sad day and yet I know we will laugh with the fervor of spirits in motion, humans masking their pain in the guise of a poorly timed joke or an anecdote that with time has been improved by exaggeration.
We will take our stands, hit our marks and embrace the bond that brings us all together.
We will join in prayer and in joy, we will support each other and we will get through today.
We will represent our absent and represent them well because together we are a force to be reckoned with – we’ve proved it time and time again.
The battlefield will not leave too many scars for us to nurse, save for the possible heartburn we might have from one too many a pastelito.
Together we will stand and follow the cues of our elderly, letting them process and understand their own mortality as they look upon us, still viewing us as kids, despite many of us holding AARP cards in our wallets.
There will be tears today.
They will be heartfelt, coming from the gut cries that cannot help but see their way out.
They will drain our energies and they will promote the hunger that will be a permanent fixture in our community of mourners tonight.
Still, I’m ready for battle.
A veteran of a now much changed Charles Street is ready to take his place on the battlefield.
I’m ready to take you on grief and pain and inconsolable loss.
I have my troops and I have myself.
And, as always, whether in loss or in joy, I have my knife and fork.
And while I may not be quite ready to say goodbye, I’m ready for our picnic on the battlefield of grief.