(Continued from "Striking Out The One I Love")
In the living room my Grandma had me sit in front of her on the couch while she rubbed my shoulders, something she does after most games and practices, especially when I pitch. It relaxes me and helps me sleep and it's her chance to talk to me. She used to do the same when I was younger and she'd give me a bath, it was just a chance for one on one time.
That night she rubbed my shoulders slower and deeper than usual and I knew something was going on, she was preparing me for bad news.
Grandma, I asked, what's wrong?
She stopped moving her hands and pulled me close to her, squeezing me almost too tightly. She didn't want me to run from her.
Your Grandpa's sick Sam, he has cancer and he's not going to last long.
Whaaaaaaaaaat???? was all I could say.
She gave me details I didn't want to hear, and then told me that all he wants is to have a relationship with me before he leaves us. He wants to make up for lost time...wasted years.
It was up to me.
Yes or no.
This is a man who has seen me in public and not even acknowledged me, and now he wants ME in his life.
A big part of my church is forgiveness and doing the right thing no matter what, and now that's all I could think about. This was a chance to bury the bad feelings in my family and have a fresh start, and to give a almost total stranger a piece of my heart.
Then Grandma told me something I never expected to hear.
Your Mother's coming back here to be with Grandpa for his last days, she took a leave of absence from her job to be here...for us.
I tried to stand up but she held me down.
Sam, I know this is hard for you, but this is a chance to make things right.
I thought about that for a while.
All I could do was shake my head.
Honey, there's something else, she said, reaching into her pocket and handing me a folded piece of paper.
What's this? I asked.
Open it up Sam.
It said "Mom" and her New York City phone number.
Call her on Mother's Day Sam, please call her.
I haven't spoken to her in years, and now she wants to hear my voice?
She needs you Sam, lots of people need you...Jacob needs you, she told me. I stood up and hugged my Grandma tight, and we both cried.
Tears of sadness.
Tears of joy.
They all flow the same way.