Thursday, 23 April 2009

The solace of baseball

The last six months have been the most gut-wrenching ones of my life. Watching my mother go in and out of hospital; watching various tubes inserted to help her eat, breathe, all the common functions we take for granted; gaining the false hope of a discharge only to have her return to the hospital; and finally, the traumatic last 2 weeks, where the infection finally got the better of her.

I haven't been able to update this blog or Singapore Sox Fan as much as I'd like under the circumstances. Nor was my mother the greatest of baseball fans; indeed, she didn't know much about the game besides the general idea of going around the bases. But baseball and the Sox were a form of solace in a terrible world. The controlled drama of the World Baseball Classic, where agony and suffering were confined to the field. The rhythms of spring training, signifying renewal and hope. The spell of the daily game, and the comfort of a world where the great fear is that David Ortiz has truly lost his bat speed. The passing of time, out by out, hit by hit, following games over the tiny screen of the phone while waiting outside the ICU and praying and hoping for a miracle.

A Bartlett Giamatti's famous quote on baseball reads: "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." And that is true. But the game can comfort too. It can remind you of times where people have springs in their step, and where people have full control of their faculties. Its highs are true highs, bringing unbridled joy and elation. And yet its lows are manageable. Autumn will pass, and then new players will come in, draft picks will make the majors, there will be renewal. Because in baseball, there's always "Wait till next year!". And what I wouldn't give for a next year with my mother.



People always say words are inadequate to capture what it's like to lose a loved one and I'm sure that's true, but you have done something wonderful with them here nonetheless. I read it several times, despite knowing nothing about baseball. And I'm very sorry for your loss.


I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my mum almost 7 years ago and it still saddens me thinking about it even now. Nonetheless I'm glad I managed to spend some very precious last moments with her (I was based overseas and had to rush back).

Glad to see that you're still writing. No doubt it will help you through this difficult time.


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