It will come… sooner or later.

Today is a different day. That doesn’t mean that things are different though. Yesterday a friend was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Try as I might, I cannot cut short the sadness over the loss of his life in this world. I could not travel the 6 hours each way to honor his life there with others. I chose instead to take a break from moving and see Long Island beaches for the first time. I spent the hour of his interment watching my children jump into the ocean. And the waves crashed over and over again like a heart beat, reminding me of his now gone.

Am I a crappy human for wanting to forget? It was as though my heart said, if I cannot be there to truly grieve with others then I will simply not grieve.

Unfortunately, although I was able to defer pain, I could not cut it off. It remains. I woke this morning with a lump in my throat and a deep need to cry before I even knew why.
It’s done. He is gone. There are no more ceremonies or memorials, there is not another step to finalize the formal end. Now comes the time when the others slowly but surely get on with thier lives as his family drowns in grief that has been deferred to a point as well. Now there is nothing else to keep them busy arranging or trying to ‘get through’.

100 years ago we still wore black for a year. We showed our grief. A close friend or distant relative wore a black band to show the grief. The widow for a full year or more was clothed in all black with little relief of color.

Today we have no outer way to know of grieving kin. They walk by us in the grocery store and for all intensive purposes carry on thier daily grind as we stand in line behind them or scoot our cart around them in the deli department.

As a not so close friend, but more than mere acquaintance, where do I fit in? Some of us feel grief for others in the oddest of ways with no rhyme or reason. Maybe this is deferred pain over other losses in my life?

All I know is that today I grieve and no matter how enjoyable yesterday was, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, I was aware all day of my friends who stood by a grave and shed tears at an armed salute, taps and a folded flag. I was so aware that I let out a deep breath- one I did not know I had been holding- around 1500. Surely it was done. Surely his lovely bride stood surrounded by others muttering condolences to her when she only wished to be alone on a mountain top screaming her lungs out over the ugliness of this.

There are no words I can utter to her that will ease her pain. There is no action I can perform to lessen her grief. I can only allow my tears to join hers as they fall to the earth where he is laid. My only hope is that I will be able to travel soon to honor his life where he rests and that I can live my life in a way that honors the love, laughter, friendship, and heartbeat that was his.

Pedro Mercado, my friend, may you rest in peace. May your lovely wife carry a little less pain each day. May your family remember you with honor and smiles. May your memory live on to remind us all that we should live with a HUGE smile that lights up a room, because in the end, while we may try to defer the pain, or even death, we cannot. It will come. Sooner or later.


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