When we sorrow most

I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:

I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth,
But stagnates in the field of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H (Canto XXVII)

Although Tennyson wrote this great lyric poem after his close friend Arthur Henry Hallem’s sudden death, the famous passage above is more often invoked in the wake of a broken relationship. I think the original context is more moving, for in that case it is not the love that is lost but the loved one.

It is a natural reaction in the wake of bitter disappointment to want to sever all emotional ties so that you’ll never have to feel that way again. Nobody wants to feel heartbroken. Nobody wants to feel what we’re feeling now, the day after Game 7. But it isn’t just the final anguish that we got from this relationship. There were many tiny delights, several moments of elation in our time with the 2016 Indians that are still there, perhaps overshadowed right now, but there nonetheless. There were many good things needed to get to that precipice of sorrow. This wasn’t a team that never knew the joys of summer, or spent its time wandering aimlessly through the schedule.

As someone who lived through the final innings of the 1997 World Series, you never truly get over this kind of ending. It’s always going to be there, at first a festering sore, and then an eternal scab. The best you can do is to also cherish those fond memories, and remember that before the loss, there was joy.



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