Amazing moment…

I had an amazing and unexpected moment today.  One that consolidated a number of feelings and confirmed my understanding of some of my pains and longings.

I took my elderly father to the Doctor this morning for a routine visit.  By way of background, Dad is in his late 80’s, a non-drinking alcoholic (on a dry drunk for a number of years due to lack of availability of alcohol due to his lack of mobility).  Dad needs assistance walking and uses a wheeled walker.  I am the youngest sibling and a very late child… my parents in their 40s when I was born.

Dad has been a very ominous figure in my life.  We did not have a conventional parent/child relationship due to him and my Mom being divorced and his working out of town.  In addition, his alcoholism and anger issues made him entirely difficult and complicated to be around.  He only passed through my life occastionally during my teen years.

My relationship with him, or lack thereof, has impacted and defined much of my life.  There were positive too.  I know that deep down he loved me and he did his best to express his love with gifts and whatever encouragement he was capable of.

Dad is also a WW2 combat veteran and former POW.  He seldom talks about these experiences and I can’t help but imagine how life-defining these were for him.  So I do my best not to judge or resent his behaviour, even though I have felt a lot of pain over it.

When we arrived at the Dr.’s office, Dad had to walk the length of my truck to get to his walker awaiting on the sidewalk at the tailgate of the truck.  Parking was tight and the walker would not fit between my vehicle and the one beside us, so Dad has to walk bracing himself on the two vehicles.

At one point, the vehicles on either side were not reachable so I held my hands out.  Dad grabbed my forearms and I grabbed his so he could walk with my assistance.   I walked backward as we held forearms for about 6 feet which took maybe 30 seconds.  This was the amazing moment.

Having felt a sense of absence of my father during my childhood, and always having had a longing for a father and guide throughout my adult life, I finally had a moment with my father where we had physical contact and walked essentially arm in arm. 

Now I know our roles are by now reversed, where I assist and care for him, versus him caring for and assisting me, but the connection still happened.  This brief moment represented to me what I always wanted… to walk arm in arm with my father.  To be there for one another.  To share strength in a time of weakness.

In that moment, I felt no pain, no regret, no longing or loss.  In that moment, I felt, “Wow, I have a Dad, and he needs me right now, and I can be here for him”.

It didn’t matter that he was seldom there for me growing up, or that I spent most of my young adult life looking for male role models to fill the father role in my life. I was just grateful and happy in that moment.

I have a son too.  He means the world to me.  I catch myself trying to be everything to him that I wish I had when I was his age.  I often parent him out of my own pain.  I know this is dangerous ground.  Yet I know he knows I am there for him as much as I can.

I am so grateful for that moment with my Dad today.  I know I can never forecast when God is going to drop an amazing moment on me or what he will show me in it.

Ciao.

Chaz

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About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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24 Responses to Amazing moment…

  1. Chaz, thank you for such an honest and open post. I am very happy that you were able to experience such a moment. My dad died several years ago and I’m not sure I ever had such a moment.

    May that moment stay with you always.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Rich…. As I wrote it I did come to realize that it was a rare privilege and that many may not have the opportunity due to their parent not being here. Sorry to hear your Dad passed away not too long ago. Dad is nearly 90 and I know won’t be here forever. Guess it shows how significant our fathers can be at any point in our lives no matter what kind of a relationship we had?

      Ciao

      Chaz

  2. Piper Bayard says:

    I’m so glad for you that you had that moment with your dad. Even the tiniest window can let in enough light to illuminate something deep and real, and real is what we want so much in our connections with our parents.

    My mother and I had a rocky connection for most of my life, often going years without so much as a hello as I did all I could to break the cycle. She was an alcoholic in a terrible dance with my alcoholic brother for decades. She sobered up the last three years of her life, and she spent her last year with me. At that distance from the dance, she began to see things differently, and when my brother left an exceptionally abusive message on her answering machine one day, something clicked for her. For the first time, she stepped back from the cycle and saw what her place and her part had been. She understood how much she had been like him. And she apologized. It was the only apology she had ever given me that meant anything, and it meant everything. She died four months later, and we were truly at peace with each other.

    Thank you for your sharing, Chaz.

    • Chaz says:

      Wow Piper… That is amazing. The Dance as you mention is such a great descriptor of how we behave in relationships.

      And for your Mom to have that moment of clarity by being at the pointy end of your brother’s treatment sounds like an amazing blessing in disguise. It is what I often call a ‘Steve Erkel moment’. You know that anoying whirlwind of catastrophe from some sitcom in the 90s? He’d cause some huge calamity, then in the wake of destruction turn around and ask in his nasaly voice, “Did I do thaaaat”?

      I have had many Steve Erkel moments immediately after being hurt by someone in a way that instantly becomes clear that I was guilty of the same.

      So glad to hear you final years or months with your Mom were positive. Am sure you would agree is a rare privelege.

      Ciao

      Chaz

      • Piper Bayard says:

        It was, indeed, a profound privilege. We had seven months together, and they were the best gift she ever could have given me.

        • Chaz says:

          I can only imagine. Glad you had that kind of an experience. I wish the old saying, “The best things in life are free”, was not such a well-worn cliche. The longer I live, the more I see how much truth the saying bears.

          Think of any rich person you may know and imagine the question, “Would I trade those 7 months of real relationship with Mom for all the stuff and supposed privilege they have”?

          To ask that question of myself, but substituting in things like my renewed relationship with my kids, family, re-marriage, health, sanity… I would easily answer, no.

          Thanks again for adding to the dialogue.

          Ciao.

          Chaz

  3. jeremiahandrews says:

    The thing about children is that when we grow up, hopefully, we can be there to take care of our parents in their older age. This was a spiritual lesson for you and for us. It has been a day full of joy and sorrow. I guess you can mark it down that you hit two meetings tonight. I envy you this gift because I will never see this kind of gift in my lifetime. One day I will have to tell you about Margaret. But that’s for another night. Well done. Thanks for coming by tonight.

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Jeremy… Thanks for your input as always. Yes, I am grateful that I had this opportunity and recognize that some may never. At times I have mistakenly felt sorry for myself that my Dad is such a disaster, but those are very narrow-minded moments.

      Thanks again for your moving post as well.

      Chaz

  4. inwardsun says:

    Hi Chaz!
    Your post really touched me for it really portrayed two sides of humanity; strength and vulnerability. I am sure it was an amazing moment also for your father, because to accept help is sometimes the hardest thing we can do, and in this moment, father and son met in the present and walked side by side. You have an amazing blog going, I will be back to read more.

    Love n’ Light,
    Helen

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Helen…. Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I suppose we are all woven together by our times of strength and need. One day parent helps child, the next vice versa. I guess this is the inter dependency we often hear spoken of. Especially in families.

      Thanks again.

  5. Caddo Veil says:

    This is so moving, I feel the sting of tears as I come to the end. And some envy, I confess–my own fault for missed opportunities (I don’t think I saw that so glaringly till this very moment, actually–wow). It’s true you never know what gifted moments God may drop–I “found” you over at Two Minutes of Grace (my wonderful new sister, Debbie), and was intending to just tell you how much I love your blog’s name–onedirectionforward. I celebrate that with you, because as of last Easter, I no longer have a “reverse” switch–I’m committed to only going forward! My nemesis was Depression–of the life-long disabling variety (plenty of family issues)–and our enemy, that roaring (lying) lion, continues to try to mess with me and get me to retreat. So I’ve learned to stomp my foot and shout him down–knowing we have the victory already through HIM, makes it easier to fight the battle (kind of fun and exciting some days!).

    Anyway, I’m doing what I do best/most: talk talk talk. Just wanted to say I’m thrilled to “meet” you–will be back to visit again (and you’re welcome at my blog too). God bless you abundantly today–enjoy that boy of yours, what a gift!!

    • Chaz says:

      Hello Caddo…. thank you for your reply. Glad the post held meaning for you.

      My decision to make a forward emphasis came about through, what sounds like you recognize as well, an unhealthy habit of looking back to things that will never change and frankly, need to be left behind. I had unknowingly handcuffed myself to the past such that I was immobilized in today and anxious about tomorrow. A terrible and painful way to live. Perhaps you can relate?

      Then I had a moment of clarity in a highly unlikely time through a highly unlikely source. I was watching an episode of Mad Men in which the key character, Don Draper, who is frankly unhealthily running from his past, in a conversation with his brother who wants to talk about the past, tells his brother, “My life moves in only one direction – forward”.

      Now I fully recognize that this was fiction, entertainment, and that the context of Don Draper’s one direction was unhealthy for him and others. However, a penny dropped in seeing this scene that although my motives were different, it is what I needed to do. A light came on and I recognized vividly how, throughout my life, including my bouts of depression, anxiety, and alcoholism, chained myself self-defeatingly to the past and tried dragging it with me everywhere I went. I had very little notion that one could ever live any other way and this scene from a tv show of all things was the catalyst that finally got my attention.

      God most certainly does work in mysterious ways. He will do as he wishes. He even at one point had a Donkey talk. Jesus himself said that rocks would cry out if necessary. So I do not doubt that God can use a tv character if he wishes. Keeping in mind of course this final penny dropping was on the heels of a great deal of recovery work, study and prayer.

      Good for you though. Glad you have come to a similar conclusion. I spend far less time looking back than I ever did. Feel welcome to check out another post of mine, “The Past“, where I share more about my current relationship with my past and how I have learned to deal with things.

      I will most certainly pop by your blog.

      Thanks again. Chaz

      • Caddo Veil says:

        I’m with you, brother–God will and does enjoy using amazing resources to teach us and comfort! Before too long, I hope to do a post on “faith–life lessons I learned from professional bull riders”. God used them to save my life in 2006, when my depression seemed surely terminal. So, “cowboys or mad men”–if God recognizes that something will fit us, since He’s the one who created our unique individuality–He’ll go for it, and the results can be stupendous and life-changing. (That’s another area where folks can be rather quick to judge—until they have a similar experience….) Great chatting with you!

  6. Debby says:

    Chaz, thank you for this post. I’m sure you have touched many with your open honesty. How far you’ve come to be able to look at this situation in this way. I sure don’t know you well, but just knowing a little about your recovery I know this wouldn’t have been possible unless you were doing the work you need to do. Not to mention surrendering your will to one who is Higher. Really, great post. Thank you.

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Debby…. thanks for your kind words and adding to the dialogue.

      As I have probably alluded to many times, when lights finally came on around my addiction and flawed thinking, I determined that I did not want to limit whatever growth God gave me. So I make the most of my program of recovery and do my best to carry it well beyond just staying clean and sober.

      My hope always is, not just for a better life for me, but to be able to help others also. I hope to capture and share every benefit from every circumstance in life. Because I remember hearing words from the mouths of those who had spoken into my life in early recovery. Not just the words, but how I felt, the hope, the reprieve from the circumstances I was in.

      So to me, these seemingly un-recovery-related events are indeed part of recovery. It is moments such as these that we recover to and for. It is God that I thank, who remains faithful to me. Please feel welome to use any of these victories to help the hurting but hopeful men in your facility. I was in a sense, one of them… just a different place and different name on the door. Never then would I have believed where life would go and what I would learn. It is all far too precious to keep to myself. Thank you for what you do for them … as mentioned, I was one of them. And as Jesus said, whatever you do for the least of us, you do for him. Thank you for that.

      Chaz.

    • czechgurl4u says:

      Well said Debbie. COuldn’t agree more. I come from a verbally abusive home, and in middle age I am still fighting those demons. As a matter of fact I think I am just hitting the tip of the iceberg. As many of you may already know, the AA/ACOA programs are also useful for those of us who exibit co-dependent tendancies, and who seem to relate more to abusive patterns/ppl than healthy ones. It is most definitely a journey and a learning experience. Blogs/posts like this help me to remember that although I feel it at times, I am really not alone; and the worst of situations can be used for mine and other’s good. Having faith certainly helps as well. Thank you all again. I feel blessed to have found this blog.

      • Chaz says:

        Hi CG4U!

        Thanks for popping by and adding to the dialouge. There are many great bloggers crossing paths in this community so please click a few of they links and read their posts as well…. there is much to learn from and lean on.

        I am very busy with work and family and do not make it to as many AA meetings as I did when first sobered up. My blog buddies really help me stay focused and provide me with fabulous insights and reflections.

        Pop by any time.

        Ciao.

        Chaz

  7. Chaz, what an amazing post! You are a gifted writer. And it moved me deeply. I love this piece about your dad. And that moment. Wow. Thanks for sharing it with us. So good to know there are men like you out there trying hard to be good dads and also caring for dads who weren’t that good. Says a lot about you. Heather

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks for stopping in Heather. And for your kind words.

      I determined as I was getting sober and discovering the gift of recovery that I did not want to place any limits on where life could go. If we want an abundant life, a life filled with purpose and value to humanity, we are wise to start right where we are. For me, a big part of that was with my alcoholic father. What a gift to be given someone to serve. And God makes it simple… honour your father and mother. Nothing ambiguous about that.

      We are living in an increasingly fatherless culture. I refuse to participate in that. So I am determined to be the best son and father I can be. And moments like the one I described are part of the blessing that results.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

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  9. paul8bee says:

    Hey. long time no read( you got a comment on my blogg)
    that is what i used to get to you.
    you wrote.
    “uses a wheeled walker:” quote from above text. ( like this)
    I like this statement. you made up there some place in writing land.
    Here is my definition of a Wheeled walker.

    “””A CAR”””(motorized vehicle)
    . Just a seat that is mounted on wheels. (powered by ??) oil or law
    law
    A wheelchair , that is what a car or truck is.
    You have a chair or 4 chairs mounted on top of a set of wheels.
    I think that the Wheeled walkers have gone too far.
    In that they keep us from using our natural mechanisms.

    A muscle is attached to both ends of a bone.
    When that muscle is used , for example living a life that includes walking
    Then that bone will be stressed and will try and strengthen themselves, providing proper diet is in place, as is not the case with allies. (like me) ( or like I used to be)

    I was led to believe that money would lead to retirement.
    I was taught that retirement means you do not have to work any-more.
    I find that working is the best thing that can go on.
    “Check out an asronout in space. He/ she looses bone and muscle mass up there. Why?”
    Because of the lack of physical activity.
    Imagine for a minute, what would happen if the farmers went on strike?
    Farmers feed the entire population. You know that.
    If they went on strike for just one week?????
    But if the Military shut down. The post shut down. The government shut down.
    Guess what. You still got to eat.
    I am all for intellectual stimulation, But bottom line is this.

    I just needed a place to dump my words. Thank you for letting me share.
    Ps you are on my computer.

    .
    But money can only buy the food you need to
    Body tissues grow and reform each and every day.
    But the Ideas that power these formations

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks for commenting Paul. Yes, I do remember your blog. I commented quite some time ago.

      My father uses a wheeled walker because he has severe arthritis in knees and back. He worked heavy construction his whole life, was severely injured, and due to mental and emotional illnesses, including alcoholism, had isolated and remained sedetary. He only started using a walker a few years ago when artritis got so bad, he could no longer walk.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  10. Shiva Devi says:

    Hi, Chaz,

    I came across this older post, which I had not read, and I was moved by your compassion and forgiveness. I have recently begun to really deal with what it means to be an adult child of an alcoholic so your post is hitting home. I have stopped blogging but you may have inspired me to continue.

    Blessings,

    Shiva (converginghearts@wordpress.com)

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Shiva…. glad the post was meaningful.

      I recall dialoguing a bit on your post. I trust you are doing well.

      I find blogging quite therapeutic. Like you, I have not been doing much lately. But find it important to make time for.

      Good to hear from you.

      Chaz

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