After three months of my boys’ impatient waiting, baseball season finally has begun. Quarantine closed all of our town’s fields, and weeds took up residence all over the warning track and in the bullpens and dugouts. When we arrived for the first practices this week, it was a mess!
The kids and I went over the other night and spent an hour weeding the bullpen to get it ready for games to start. As we sat in the gravel pulling up renegade plants, the commuter train whistled and ground into town. And I looked up. By instinct. I didn’t even think. I heard the screeching wheels, and my body knew. He was coming home from work.
Except that he’s not. Never again. I can look up every time I hear that train screech to a stop, and I will never see Rob jogging across the parking lot, his collar open and suit jacket over his arm. Rushing to make it to baseball practice on time, not wanting to miss his boy’s opening pitch for that evening’s game. Baseball seasons will come and go, and Rob will not see any more of them.
For my boys, there is no place more filled with the complex mix of pain and pleasure than that grassy field. Their favorite thing to do is now marked forever by the absence of the one who always did it with them. If ever they have to get their heads in the game, it’s when that whistle blows as the train rolls past the outfield fence.
We often don’t acknowledge the way our bodies remember. The ways our muscles and skin — our very cells — carry memories of our sorrows and joys. We think the way to move forward in our grief is to sidestep these physical cues. Ignore our bodies and get our heads into the game, so to speak.
But learning to live with loss means allowing it to be embodied. Acknowledging grief as it makes its home in us, however unwelcome. Witnessing its effects on our bodies and responding to our woundedness with grace and tenderness and rest. God created our bodies, and these vessels have important wisdom to share with us. If we are to grieve well, we must stop and listen and respond to our bodies.
If we are to grieve well, we must stop and listen and respond to our bodies.Tweet
Since baseball season started, there have been more tears in our house than usual. Crying not for strike outs, but for the other losses our bodies feel when they head to the town fields to spectate and play. We’re slowing down a little to take it all in. It’s only natural to cry when your dad was your coach, when you trusted his hands as they signaled you to steal the next base. It’s normal to cry when your head instinctually turns as the train passes by the outfield fence. It’s healthy to listen when your body tells you to grieve.
It’s healthy to listen when your body tells you to grieve.Tweet