The backstop area behind home plate separates the spectators from the baseball players. It also helps corral baseballs that get past the catcher or are fouled off by the batters. In a sense, it’s a safety net.
Losing my mom and dad within the span of three years has me feeling like I’ve lost the backstop to life. No matter how my relationship was with my parents (sometimes rocky) I could count on them to be there to provide a helpful word of advice or simply listen as I talked through a concern that was on my mind at the time.
My mom was my primary backstop during my teenage years. I could go to her with any issue. Usually she just listened. Sometimes she would share a similar experience she had while growing up. As my mother’s health worsened, my dad took over the role until he passed away earlier this year. My father is more of a problem solver, so his approach was different than that of my mom’s. But I learned a lot from both of them.
Losing my parents has encouraged me to intentionally engage more with my sisters and seek out a deeper relationship with them. A lot of time has passed since we were close, and honestly, we weren’t all that close growing up due to divergent interests and age differences. But it doesn’t have to remain that way.
Last month I met my youngest sister in Las Vegas for lunch. I enjoyed catching up with her and hearing what is happening in her life. Listening to her I realized we have a lot more in common than I imaged. She listened to my concerns about my health and attempts to get in shape and provided encouragement. I left lunch in Vegas with a closer relationship with my sister.
I still have work to do with my siblings. But I’m hopeful.
My parents are gone, but maybe amongst siblings we can provide support and compassion and be a backstop for each other. Seems like that’s what my parents would want.