Death, Resurrection, and Carlton Fisk’s World Series Home Run

I hated that home run too, but for drastically different reasons. A wonderful personal story about the power of the risen Christ that is worth your read.

45182The day after my mom died, I told a neighbor I was glad, so that she wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. While sincere, I didn’t know what I was saying. When someone you love dies, Mark Twain said, it’s like your house has burnt down; it isn’t for years that you realize the extent of your loss. I’m not sure if I have realized it fully even yet.

Soon I grew accustomed to coming home to an empty house. My two oldest brothers were in college, and my other brother stayed away from home as much as possible. We never talked about my mother and soon stopped talking altogether. In our house, there was always noise but little communication. My last year in high school, my dad and my sister and I often would eat dinner in silence.

Some psychologists hypothesize on the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I flirted with denial at times. For years, I’d dream that my mother wasn’t dead. She had been at some type of medical clinic for years, and one day she unexpectedly and unannounced returned home. It wasn’t denial so much as avoidance. I skipped the bargaining stage and camped out in the anger and depression stages. I never came close to reaching the acceptance stage. My anger wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, even God, if I even believed there was a God. It was directed at death itself, as if death were some person. Like the hooded chess player in Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, death deliberately and maliciously killed my mother. Had I the ability to kill death, I would have done it.

Even when I was having a good time, at my core I was defined by mourning. My hope for healing was captured by Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Fanny McCullough upon the Civil War death of her father. Lincoln observed that “in this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares.” Fanny’s hope was that “perfect relief is not possible, except with time.” My hope too was with the passage of time, the wound would heal. But time did not heal my wound; it made it worse. An untreated physical wound can result in infection or nerve damage, causing numbness, pain, or loss of feeling. Slowly over time, my heart became numbed, unable to feel anything except pain.

The Western calendar is divided between B.C. and A.D, with the birth of Christ marking the transition from one era to the other. My life could be divided between pre-October 1975 and post-October 1975. Carlton Fisk’s homerun became a permanent marker of the transition from one period to the other, from carefree childhood to adult loss, disappointment, and pain.

Read it all.