1. /
  2. More Voices
  3. /
  4. 2017
  5. /
  6. Crying
  7. /
  8. What’s Wrong, Dad ?

What’s Wrong, Dad ?

When I walked into my father’s hospital room, he began to sob. I didn’t cope well with his tears. I experienced them as a reaction to his seeing me and started to beat myself up, to think to myself, What have I done?

A voice at the back of my mind said, This is his illness–you can’t take it personally. But even so, I felt hurt by his crying.

I called on a caregiver for support and revealed my confusion. I already felt I’d betrayed Dad by putting him in care, although it was the best place for him.  

I didn’t stay long that day because I couldn’t stop his tears, maybe because he needed to cry that day more than anything else. I don’t know what was behind the tears, what pain he was feeling, but Dad’s illness left him struggling to speak coherently. Yet I have never known someone to be so loved, with so many visitors constantly at his bedside.

In some ways, his tears released a sadness in me, about the things in my life that I wanted to to change for the better. I knew that Dad had always been there for me, wanted the best for me. I wondered if I was a daughter whom Dad could be proud of, whom he was glad to have visiting him. I also wondered who I would talk to, now that Dad was the one needing my help. He had helped me so many times in the past, with just a word or two of advice. 

The tears from family members and friends didn’t stop throughout Dad’s illness, but we comforted each other with our companionship, continued hospital visits, small acts of love, and sharing of positive memories. His tears never made him seem weak to me, just real. I came to appreciate how precious his smiles were when they came, and I smiled back because we had been blessed to have him in our lives for so long.

I learned to take one day at a time.



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