Monday, August 3, 2009

A Couple Weeks Ago

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my college entry essay, verbatim. It was about family and the wisdom and guidance that my parents have given me. It cited a specific example, and you can read the whole thing if you'd like, but the takeaway was that when I was in 3rd grade, my parents hit me with a lesson in priorities and proper behavior that has resonated more than any others and will stick with me for the rest of my life. I mentioned the scorekeeper, but the focus was primarily the coach...aka the guy who benched me.

This one's about the scorekeeper.

I use this blog (and facebook and twitter) to whine and moan and generally just bloviate about anything and everything. You all have a right (and are encouraged, really) to leave me comments to weight in or tell me to shut up and stop my complaining or any of a number of things you may want to sound off about. I love the dialog.

No one has as much room to tell me to shut up as the scorekeeper.

One word that never appears in my college essay is "strength." My parents taught it to me, but were so covert about it that I never really recognized it...until a few years ago when the scorekeeper and i nearly lost the coach. Then it became crystal clear.

In early September '05 (my first year out of school), I had gone back to spend a night with one of my college buddies and some of his friends from his apartment building. It was a prototype evening of college shenanigans and I woke up to a phone call from mom. She then proceeded to tell me that my father had a massive heart attack the night before, and they were at the hospital in Hollywood because that's the venue with the great cardiac team, apparently.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, scrambled to say goodbye to everyone and violated a couple traffic laws to get there, I was greeted by my dad hanging out in his bed drinking some water and my mom hanging out talking to him like we were at home in the living room or something. Outwardly...not fazed. Pretty amazing. It put me at considerable ease and really eliminated any sense of immediate panic I had going in.

So they scheduled pops for surgery for later in the week. Mom worked out a deal with the office where she could work part of her day remotely, so she could spend as much time with dad as possible.

When he went into surgery, she was there, and she told me to just go to work and not worry about it.

While he was in surgery, she waited in the waiting room.

When I called after work, she told me not to worry and to just go home. (I ignored her...I always did have selective hearing.)

When the surgery went past the estimated time, she was glad that I'd ignored her, but if I hadn't, she would have hung in there.

When the doctor came to talk to her once he was out of surgery, she listened to every word and calmly asked questions.

When he was in the hospital for a couple months after surgery in constant danger of taking a turn for the worst, she was right there all day during visiting hours.

When things started to get a little better, the stoicism turned into a smile.

And when it was time for him to come home, it was like a party.

Since then, through good days and tough ones, she's shown the same kind of selflessness no matter what's been going on around her. Going in early, staying late, working through lunch...whatever she needs to do to finish her paid job as a CPA to get home to her unpaid job as a wife and primary care physician, she does with a faith-driven grace that I don't believe can be replicated.

This is why it didn't surprise me a whole lot that when she called me a few hours ago to tell me that her father (from whom I get my personality...I'm convinced, anyway) had been diagnosed with cancer that is believed to be terminal, she spit out the facts like a doctor without a hint of weakness in her voice.

My grandpa has always been the active type, quick with jokes and stories and all about fixing (and "fixing") things. He's as strong-willed and stubborn as they come, the larger than life personality and the commanding presence that you would expect out of a former Navy guy and head of a household with five kids, but with a heart of gold. Even in the face of the worst news someone could possibly get from a doctor, he wore it to stay strong for his family.

I guess we all know where the scorekeeper gets that from.

Please say a prayer and keep good thoughts for the Power family. As tough as we are, we could really use it, and it's much appreciated. God bless.

Photo credits to my cousin Crissy and her blog and my cousin Courtney and her Facebook page.


  1. I am moved by your recollections and kind words. Your Mom truly is the "rock" on which our family is built--the "glue" that holds us together and the keeper of "the brown helmet", which, as you know, gets put on us on a regular basis. She's the strongest woman I know, but she needs us to lean on now if she loses her balance during this emotional time.

  2. Wow...that boy can write! I'll keep your grandfather in prayer. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is amazing but I think its our turn to be the rocks for our parents. They need us more than ever now, especially to tell them its ok.