Monday, January 09, 2006

Progress

Last Saturday my dad and I went to counseling again. The first time we went I just sat there and let him go on and on about how everything was my mother's fault. This time I spoke up. My mother does spend most of her waking hours waiting on my sister hand and foot while my dad feels like a wallflower. However, I brought up the fact that people tend to gravitate toward those who make them feel wanted, appreciated, valued, and loved. She gets that from my sister, but not from my dad. I explained to the counselor that my dad and mom have pointed fingers at each other for years and someone needs to have the guts to be the first to change.

A little further into the session I experienced something I never thought I would. My dad told the counselor that he was extremely excited about my wife and I expecting our first baby. He started talking about it and began to explain that he hopes that I never make the kind of mistakes that he did as a father. He couldn't quite get it out before he started crying. I have never seen him cry before in my life - not even at funerals. I guess he was brought up to believe that a man doesn't cry. Personally, I feel that a man's ability to express emotion is a sign of strength, not weakness. I glanced over at him and his eyebrows were up. I have always seen them down in an angry, tight, downward position. It only lasted several seconds, but I see this as progress. For those of you who have been praying, thank you!

I'm not sure how much was actually accomplished in the counseling session. For two or three months now my dad has not been very sharp. I can tell the cancer is affecting his short-term memory and his attention span. He tells me things that he has already told me 15 or 20 times. It gets frustrating and certainly makes my heart go out to those who have relatives with Alzheimer's. I notice during the session that the counselor apparently had not gotten enough sleep. Her eyes would droop every ten seconds or so and then close. I didn't know whether to continue or wait until she opened her eyes. I'd look over at my dad to see if he saw her nodding off and he would have his eyes closed too. I realized I was the only one following what was going on. There came a point where I almost volunteered to pick up some coffee for everyone. One time my classical guitar teacher fell asleep - completely asleep - when I was in the middle of playing. I took it as a compliment because it was a soothing song. It's one of those situations where you're not sure of the proper etiquette. Do I wake him? Do I start playing a more lively song? I waited about 30 seconds and then coughed politely. He jolted awake and said, "Nicely done!" I thought to myself, "Apparently so." I'm sure the counselor realized that I knew. Anyway, the next appointment will be earlier in the day. Hopefully that's better for both her and my dad.

4 Comments:

At 1/10/2006, Blogger wilsonian said...

Thank you Lord for hope! Thank you for the gift of tears you gave to Mark that day... Continue to heal, in every way...

 
At 1/11/2006, Blogger CJ said...

I can't believe the counselor fell asleep? That's a little rude... but on a better note, that is progress indeed! You won't regret it, I know firsthand!

 
At 1/12/2006, Anonymous l. said...

great blog!!!

 
At 1/14/2006, Blogger Andrew G said...

hmmm, I think there's more going on in your dad than we think...
he's obviously thought about his mistakes as a parent and he actually loves you enough to think, "I hope my son doesn't make those same mistakes!"

Father, keep bringing change and healing!

 

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