I did not cry Sunday night when I read the news of Oscar Taveras and Edilia Arvelo’s unfortunate fatal car accident. I felt all of the emotions usually associated with and preceding crying, but the tears didn’t come.
I chatted with Daniel on the Gateway to Baseball Heaven podcast Sunday night, mere minutes after the world was learning that Oscar and Edilia were gone. We stumbled and bumbled through it, it was cathartic in a way, if premature for truly having a reaction other than “this sucks.” Shock, disbelief, wanting to wish it away – that was all there, but no tears.
The outpouring of emotion and reactions from the Cardinal players, the news reports, the photos – oh, the incessant photos from the local press and citizenry, some things just should never be seen – these things brought more shock, more disbelief, increasing dismay and sympathy. Still no tears.
Yesterday I read about Taveras’ funeral and the stories of the townspeople who loved him, the children who loved him, the family who loved him and I was moved. There was one name that stuck out to me in the reports, one I’ll never forget. It read:
Oscar Yadier Taveras
Then came the tears. Oscar and Edilia’s one year old son, Oscar Yadier Taveras, stopped me in my tracks. I think you can deduce from the gamut of emotion above that it was only a matter of time, and thinking of their young son left behind without truly knowing his mother and father finally put me over the edge.
That’s the differentiating factor of grief and mourning, it is obviously about those lost, but inherently it is also deeply personal to the person grieving, no? How that manifested itself in me, now the fortunate father of two healthy, happy children is that I now tend to see some things in the world the same way I see many of the things in my life – colored through the eyes of a parent. Sorrow and sympathy for the families, the parents of these two young lives lost. A parent should never have to bury their child. I know this is not a unique emotion to me or only to someone who is a parent. Nor is sympathy for a young child, his whole life in front of him. But I can say with relative confidence – and several years experience now – once that protective parental instinct kicks in, something like this hits deeper. It is more personal, more real. And brings more tears.
So on Sunday night and every night since, I’ve hugged my Cardinal-loving four-year-old son a little tighter when I put him to bed. I’ve stared at my four-month-old daughter asleep in her crib a little longer. They both got one extra kiss a day. Yesterday I read about little Oscar Yadier. More hugs, more kisses, more appreciation for the blessing of life.
I write this not to tell you my life, but to relate how I (and I imagine many others) cope. As Cole wrote eloquently, we all find our own ways to work through tragedies such as these. I did not know Oscar or Edilia, I do not know their son Oscar, I do not know their families or friends. I do know that no parent should have to bury a child, and no child should lose both of their parents in such tragic manner, especially while still clinging to the innocence of being a young child.
Today, I take comfort in knowing that Oscar Yadier has the support system of several thousands of beautiful Dominican people, family and friends. I take comfort in the hope that he grows up to share that wide, glowing smile of his father. I take comfort in the video he will be able to watch of his father achieving his life’s dreams, even in such a short life, and the stories that Cardinal fans will be willing to tell him for all of his life.
Mostly, I take comfort in knowing that Oscar Yadier has two new angels watching over him. Rest in peace Oscar and Edilia. Godspeed, Oscar Yadier.