Chelle Summer

Finding Liverpool

Michelle Rusk

There are always British voices coming out of our television on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Since Greg and I got together, he introduced me to Premier League coverage on television. But it wasn’t my first introduction to soccer in the United Kingdom; that came from John Peters, the man I called my “UK Dad.”

While I’m not much of a tv watcher, Greg will attest that when I leave to run on weekend mornings, I flip on the tv to whatever soccer game is being played and I go about my morning with it in the background.

However, at the end of last season, I decided I really need to follow a team. While Greg would tell me all about what was going in the standings, quite honestly, I didn’t really know what was going on. I wasn’t following any one team and it was as if I were floating above the fields, er, pitches, just kind of taking a look occasionally. I knew that if I adopted a team, I’d be far more interested.

Without having a clue of which team to pick, I turned to Wendy– my UK Sister and one of John’s daughters– and asked her which team her dad favored. John died just about a month after my mom in 2014 and I thought I could carry a torch of sorts and follow his team. I also knew that would make him happy.

Liverpool, she said.

So Liverpool it was although I wasn’t sure why I didn’t know this before. What I did know was that as child I knew that the Beatles were from Liverpool and it always sounded like a dark, depressing place. I’ve been near Liverpool traveling through Wales but I’ve never been there (next visit, Wendy, I guess I know where we are road tripping to!).

John’s mission each time I went to the UK was to show me Wales because he thought Americans only see London and he wanted me to have a sense of what else his country offered. I have written before about his influence on my life and the photo here– of him and Jean in their car with a surfboard running across the middle so that I could surf on my last visit before he died– also indicates how he showed me another part of Wales, this time through a beach and my love of surfing.

Recently, I found a letter that one of my mom’s best friends wrote me after first book about my sister’s suicide was published. In it, Mrs. Ortyn said that after her mother died she realized how her love for her mother could grow, even after death.

I know well the pain of losing someone, but I have also learned that if we are open to it, our relationship with that person doesn’t end in the loss. It changes, it grows.

And maybe even brings a Premier League Championship with it.