Those who watch ‘Around The Horn’ everyday on ESPN noticed the week-long absence of spunky host Tony Reali, likely assuming he was on vacation. The reality was nothing short of heartbreaking.
Reali and his wife were expecting twin boys, but due to complications late into the pregnancy, the baby named Amadeo died. The other child, Enzo, had to be born via an emergency delivery.
After returning on Monday, Reali took over during the ‘Facetime’ portion, revealing that he and his family had both welcomed a child into the world and seen one leave it.
— Around The Horn (@AroundtheHorn) June 18, 2018
“The notes and the condolences my wife, Samiya, and I have received have gone right into our soul, and I wanted to say that. Talking about the duality of losing a child near childbirth and then delivering another healthy one is impossible. I was talking about this yesterday on Twitter. How can you ever be whole again? Parents have had to go through this before. I’m going through this now.
“And I spent time pledging that it’s OK not to be OK. And for me, the recognition that I’ve come to is that life can be out of our control. And that’s OK. It’s how we respond and what we do — that’s what we have control over. So, here’s where I am today. Grief is part of humanity. Grief is proof of humanity. Parents dealing with loss or anybody dealing with loss, meet yourself where you are. Give voice to your feelings. Young men, young women watching, this can be how you grieve. Don’t bury your heart — keep it on the outside and look to other people. Because humanity can lift us. That has been my experience.
“But I need to say this now. More duality, if I’m brutally honest. Today my thoughts are with children in cages. That’s parents experiencing loss too. Humanity needs to be better. Amadeo, I’ll love you forever. You’re named for God’s love. May we all be craving it. May we all be giving it to each other. May we all be compassionate enough to give it to all.”
On Sunday, Reali wrote:
Heartened by Father’s Day wishes. In recognition that this day like all things in life could mean different things to different people -parent and child, positive and negative-I’d like to speak here about fathers who’ve experienced loss. This month I became one.
Anyone within a galaxy of me knows we were expecting twins. We lost Amadeo in the moments leading up to childbirth. We delivered Enzo weeks early in an emergency. Last week was our memorial mass for Amadeo. This week Enzo came home happy, healthy and strong. The duality of all this – the anguish and the joy – is impossible to grasp. But it’s one we know we must navigate. For me that means two things: giving voice to our feelings, and allowing others to lift us when we can’t shoulder the load of those feelings.
The heaviness of giving a eulogy for a son who never had a chance to breathe. Having to talk to our just-old-enough-to-know daughter who was expecting two siblings. These are impossible moments; how can any parent go forward? Ever be whole? Consider that grief could mean meeting ourselves where we actually are. That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about navigating feelings. Recognizing we didn’t get to know Amadeo- but sure as anything we felt him. Felt his kicks, felt his presence. That feeling is life. I am not somebody who thinks everything happens for a reason. I’ve spent time here & here pledging that it’s ok to not be ok. For me the recognition that life can be out of our control is necessary; how we respond is what we do control, and it’s pivotal and determining.
But what if it requires more than that? How we choose to respond, but also: how others positively respond to us, for us. And that’s what I’m talking about when I talk about allowing others to lift us.
Example: In our instance, a twin stroller is on every block, an expectant family at every park. That can pierce your heart, but you can’t let it pierce you every day. Or a day like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, it’s even trickier.
Isn’t grief part and proof of humanity? What if it’s humanity you need to open yourself up to? To allow to shepherd you through trials of grief?