Recently

My son Henry was up to bat yesterday at his Richmond little league baseball game. He’s not the best player on the team but sure does work hard. He hasn’t gotten a hit all season. As I was talking with another mom on the team, whose son is also named Henry, I told her that I really hoped my Henry would get a hit tonight. She said she couldn’t watch her Henry strike out anymore so she didn’t even watch as he went up to bat. “I know, it’s hard,” I said “but, I keep filming in case that one up to bat is it.” And, I explained, today would be my dad’s birthday. “He recently passed away,” I explained “and he loved the game of baseball.” I’m really thinking tonight is going to be the night henry gets a hit. I go up to the fence, Iphone through the chain link fence and film each swing. Crack! He connects. Henry runs to first. The first basemen misses the ball and Henry runs to second. The next player up to bat gets out but it allows Henry to steal third base. The next player gets a hit and Henry runs home. He scores for his team! Heart is racing – his and mine – and we are all smiles, well, he is all smiles. I am, of course, tearing up through my sunglasses that I put back on even though it was 7:30pm. The sweet mom gives me a high five and says “the stars aren’t out yet but they saw everything. I know your dad is smiling.” It was a great gift. Later, though, I thought about what I had said to that mom. “My dad recently passed away.” I’m not sure that is entirely true and was grateful she didn’t ask how long it had been. We are coming up on three years this summer. Three years. Is that recently? Some times it feels so very recent. Some days and some nights my heart races and tears stream down remembering the exact moment I learned he had died. How I collapsed on the floor of a cabinet store and had to be carried outside. But, then, other days it seems that he has been gone through so much. A move, a baby, my kids growing up, vacations, hikes, nights sky views, birthdays, anniversaries…. A lot has happened in almost three years. So, was I wrong? Is recent not accurate? Maybe it’s not recent in the conventional sense but recent in the way it impacted me. The “before my dad died” and “after my dad died” line had been drawn in the sand recently and there was no way to think of life differently. Grief is recent and far away. It is every present and sneaky. It the crack of a baseball bat, the song on the radio, the taste of a certain ice cream but it is also a great void that no matter how much actual time has passed may not affect the pain left in doing life without someone we love.

 

Richmond, Virginia