For the past two months, I have wanted only to think or speak or write about two things: my mother’s death and the Chicago Cubs. I have talked a lot, maybe incessantly, about the Cubs, mainly because it’s easier on me and those around me to think about winning than dying.
In the quiet places of my heart, though, I will remember the summer-turned-fall of 2016 as the time that Mom slowly, painfully failed, while the Cubs surprisingly, joyously succeeded. I will look back on afternoons sitting by her side at the nursing home, torn between wanting to hold on to her and, for her own good, wanting to let her go. Those were the toughest afternoons of my life.
But then came the quiet evenings at home, when I would turn on the TV, pour a glass of wine, and watch the Cubs find another entertaining way to win a baseball game. And I would sip and breathe, breathe and sip as my pain eased.
It appears that I am far from alone in my mixed feelings. When Bryant fielded the ball and threw to Rizzo for the last out of game 7, euphoria ensued. But almost immediately, emotional fans were speaking of loved ones who had not lived to see the Cubs as world champions.
During the five days since the final game, many have returned to Wrigley Field to celebrate and to remember. Some of them recorded thoughts in chalk on the brick walls of the ballpark.
Others wrote stories and memories and tributes on social media. Facebook created a place called My Cubs Story for people to share their own experiences and read those of others. They are a poignant mix of happiness, sorrow, love, and, yes, death.
It was here that I found, in one sentence, everything I spent this entire post trying to say: