Anyone who knows me or follows us closely knows what the NY Mets mean to me. Rees’ nursery was literally decked from top to bottom in orange and blue and Mets memorabilia. From the moment my girls could speak some of their first words were “Let’s go Mets”. It’s a known fact that I live and die (mostly die…) with the Mets.
It wasn’t always this way though. After Rees’ passing, I found that my love for so many things faded and seemed pointless – my Mets included. I lost interest in just about everything and found it difficult to get excited about anything. The grief of child loss is like an anchor that continually pulls you down. In time you just get used to it, and it feels like your whole existence is centered on managing grief’s pull. The problem is that when you focus so much on one emotion, other feelings have to give. Joy is usually the first casualty.
The real irony in this situation is that joy is the life-preserver that helps negate grief’s relentless drag. Grieving parents get so focused on the incessant tugging that they simply fail to accept the things life throws at them that could help. It took me three years to find my joy again… and I found it in the Mets’ run to the 2015 World Series.
Watching those games reminded me that it was ok to feel ok. Allowing myself to feel the passion and joy I had for my favorite team gave me a new perspective on my grief. Sure, it was still there, and it always would be – but it needn’t be at the expense of my happiness. I can’t thank the Mets enough for helping me to rediscover that part of myself and the damned Royals for ruining what would have been a better ending to this story…
Of course, that isn’t the end of my story, it’s simply the necessary prelude to the amazing thing that happened to me today. You see, a couple of days ago, I inquired about possibly buying a 20-game ticket plan for next season. It’s something I always wanted to do but put off for one excuse or another. This time I was determined to finally do it.
What I thought would be a simple “Click and buy” for a package of tickets turned into something I will never forget. Shortly after expressing my interest online, a representative from the Mets name Will called me. He asked me what I was looking for, and I told him – letting him know I was ready to buy right now. There was no need to pitch. I was sold already.
Will could have sold me the package right there. I was a sure thing. Any other sales rep would have “put it in the bag” and moved on to the next pitch. Not Will. After hearing my story about how I became a fan – Rees, all of it, he invited me down to the Stadium for a tour. I explained to him that he didn’t need to do this, that I was sold already, yet he insisted.
So my daughter Lori and I came to Citi Field today, and we found joy… Will took us on a tour of the whole stadium. He took us to the dugout. I got to pick up the phone from the bullpen, and it rang! (though sadly, Edwin Diaz did not pick up the other end – though I could have sworn I heard Timmy Trumpet playing…) Lori had a grin from ear to ear on her face the whole time, and so did I. Will took time to talk to me about the foundation – about Rees and our mission. He had been to our website and was so genuine in his admiration of our mission, explaining how he had recently lost his sister and respected us for what we were doing to honor Rees’ memory.
Will didn’t have to do any of this. I know that some cynics out there may read this and think that it was just a good salesman doing what they should do – but it wasn’t. Will sold me exactly what I wanted in that first call. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s clear that he saw an opportunity for kindness and took it. In my experience, it is those who have felt the pull of grief’s anchor who inherently understand how powerful a kind act can be. Thank you so much for reminding Lori and I that a little kindness goes a long way.
P.S. Bravo to the New York Mets for bringing wonderful people like Will into the fold. He made a difference today