Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Before & After

I absolutely love this picture of Mom, taken April 6th. We we popped into a David's Bridal and took a look at some Mother of the Bride dresses. We found this one, deeply discounted of course, and had such a laugh imagining her in it.

Because Mom does not like her photo taken, a lot of her posed photos are just that: posed. But this picture captures her pure joy, and I can almost hear her contagious laughter when I look at it. The laughter that my Dad has a knack for bringing forth without much effort, and the kind that causes her to actually shed tears.

As much as I love this picture, it hurts my heart to look at it because it was taken pre-diagnosis. The cancer was there, but we did not know it. Everything was alright.

Today, a student came into my office, visibly upset. He was going through something very similar with one of his parents. When he paused, I said I understand exactly how you feel, and disclosed what was going on with Mom.

It's a statement I've never made before. As a counselor, I can empathize, but never really know what someone else is going through, and never pretend to. Basic counseling skills involve listening, paraphrasing and empathizing before using whatever your trained approach is, often a combination of a few.

I've said I can imagine how hard that must be or I can see how much this hurts you, but I've never said I understand exactly, because I don't think I ever have.

But everything he said was so spot-on, that he could have been reading a monologue that I wrote. I did know how scared he was. I did understand how mad he was, and agreed that it most certainly was not fair. I knew there were no magic words for me to offer up to help make it better. I knew telling him it would be alright or that his parent would be fine wouldn't help. So I listened, and agreed, and set a follow-up appointment. It was all I could do, and hopefully it was something. He sort of smiled before he left, but gave me a hug before he walked away.


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