The Baseball Instructor

by Todd Nigro
A few years ago, I took my son to his baseball hitting lesson. We really liked the instructor. I was just being friendly and inquired about his kids. He informed me that his son had committed suicide several years before. I remember being shocked and at a complete loss as to what to do or say. I think I probably looked very uncomfortable, and I was. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I probably changed the subject, and I would bet that I didn’t offer up very much in the way of comfort. And, I definitely never brought that up again, until…

Well, things change. After losing six-year-old Ellie, I have a whole new understanding. First, I give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they care, even if it doesn’t seem like it. The fact is that unless you’ve experienced a deep loss, it is hard to empathize and understand. Second, I try to help people with their reactions. I try to make it easy for them as best I can.

I saw the baseball instructor at a game a few months ago. I jumped up and walked up to him. I told him about the conversation we had several years ago and I apologized for my insensitivity and lack of understanding. I told him that I understood that he was so hurt, and that I would be happy to talk to him anytime. Although the circumstances of our children’s deaths were different, we were both fathers without our babies. We shared a hug and a few tears and it was a memorable moment in my life.
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