But today is the big day. Himself isn't running this year, although he is taking the day off since Marathon Monday is a high holy day in the Church of the Fleet Footed. It should be an entirely joyful day, with wishes for "good luck" flying through the air on Face Book and high fives along the route from those cheering them on, but I'm not sure it will ever be just that again. Last year's cloud hangs heavy over Boston today. Our vulnerability is hanging out in the open for all to see, our mortality too noisy to be ignored. Everyone has a story. Everyone was there or almost there or knows someone who was there. We all know someone who was hurt by this. I discovered that the sister of one of the victims works in my office. But on this beautiful spring day which still feels full of hope, thirty-six thousand runners will do what I've never been able to wrap my mind around. They will run twenty-six point two miles (and may God help you if you leave out that "point two" because I'm told that's the hardest half of the race). Some do it for fun. Some do it for health. Some do it to prove they can. This year many do it in defiance of death. The thing is, you can't defy death. It's going to win every time. But I think if anything positive has come out of last year's unthinkable sadness it is that some people pay more attention to life, knowing that it could be snatched away from them or someone they love in the blinking of an eye. Boston pride has never been stronger and Boston hearts have never been more ambivalent. We certainly didn't choose to be the center of all this sad attention, but here we are. That's pretty much how life works. You do what needs doing and you move on.
My hope for today is joy and excitement among the marathoners, with a minimum amount of work for the medical volunteers to cope with. I hope for sunshine and PRs for everyone (that's "personal record" for the uninitiated). Enjoy the cheers and the beers. Most of all I hope for peace and for closure (such as it is or could ever be) because we as a city and a nation need to heal and get on with this very fleeting business of life.