Thursday, October 22, 2015

World Series Bound...Why Am I So Sad?!

I finally realized it today when a good friend said it to me at lunch. It hadn't been the first time this week. Friends and family alike have expected me to be ecstatic. After all, my Mets just finished sweeping the Chicago Cubs on the way to clinching the National League Championship and a berth in the World Series. I know that co-workers who could normally care less about baseball had been checking scores each morning to have an idea whether it would be a "good mood" or "bad mood" day. It took until my friend's blunt declaration that I should be happier for me to recognize what I really already knew.

This is a bittersweet journey through the playoffs. It carries with it shadows of loss - not only of my beloved Joe - but also of my Mets-loving Grandma who died many years before him. With the joy of every win also comes the sinking feeling of who is missing. The high five almost always denied by Joe who hated high fives. The reminders of those Mets mementos that continued to pop up throughout my grandparents house long after my Grandma had passed away. That "ya gotta believe" spirit coming on the heels of what was almost always soul crushing year after soul crushing year.

When Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler looking to end the game last night, sending the Mets to the World Series and the Cubs directly into the cold Chicago winter, there was no avoiding the flashback to the 2006 NLCS when the result was the heart-breaking opposite for the Mets. Joe and I were glued to the TV in his apartment when Beltran struck out looking against Adam Wainwright to end the Mets World Series hopes that year. There were plenty of expletives. There was much hand wringing and head hanging. There may or may not have been something launched in the general direction of the TV. I remember the scene and the feelings and being there with him as if it had happened yesterday.

But it isn't what happened yesterday. What happened yesterday is the Mets won in decisive fashion. Duda and D'Arnaud didn't make us wait with painful anticipation. Instead they launched back to back homers in the first inning. Matz, Colon, and Reed combined to hold the Cubbies to just one run through 7 innings - plenty of breathing space. Daniel Murphy did what Daniel Murphy apparently does in the postseason and went 4 for 5 with a homerun. Then, Jeurys Familia left all who were watching no doubt that the Mets were going to the World Series.

How I felt post game is exactly how I explained it back when I made the trip to Washington, DC for the final game of the Mets series there.
It was as if for that moment, 2006 and 2015 occupied the same space in my heart and mind. Honestly, it was a beautiful thing and I am thankful for it because it was something like this...

Then, this morning - while it was all still sinking in - I received the most perfect text from my aunt with the sentiment that I had already been mulling around the night before. Grandma would have been so happy. Oh, those Mets fans in heaven... and now with some of the most AMAZIN' Mets players as well.

At so many points this season, I have had the privilege of living into a space that was both full of joy and full of sadness. I have come to learn this is just as much a part of the grieving process as those first few months after Joe died when all I could do at the sight of the Mets orange and blue was bawl. The memories and the loss were just too raw then for much else.

It's been almost 4 years since Joe died. Maybe if the Mets weren't the Mets I could have dealt with all of this sadness in the midst of joy sooner, but, in typical Mets fashion, it took a little while for the joy to get here. I'm ok with that...perhaps it just means that I'm in a better place to soak it all in.

As the season has progressed, there have already been some special moments.

From the "magic number" that was his.... the conjuring of sweet memories from bygone seasons.

So many times this year and especially this postseason I found myself happy and teary. I was overwhelmed by it when I wrote about the Mets v. Nationals game I went to in DC in September and it has only snowballed since.

Thank goodness the ride's not over yet. So, when I roll into the World Series games at CitiField next week I'll probably have some tissues tucked away in my bag. It won't be in case we lose, but, more likely, in case we win. How beautiful and special it is this bittersweet journey to become World Champions. #LGM

Tailgating at NLCS Game 1 with the Little Guy - He has loved the postseason and this was a great Mets win!