Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

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So Frankie got an A+ on a paper he wrote. The teacher said “What an insightful self-assessment.” He is the social studies teacher so I am curious what the assignment actually was. Anyhow, I felt sad when I read it. I’m not sure why after reading it a second time, but that was the reaction I had. He had to rate himself on a scale of 1-10 for different categories. Here are some examples:

“Movement/Your need to move- I give myself a 9. I’m constantly moving because I’m sometimes stressed and angry.” I do notice that. Not all the time, but once in a while he gets stressed out and mad. He almost shakes he gets so mad. And it’s usually over something that would seem insignificant to most, like being asked to brush his teeth or try a shirt on. He grits his teeth and makes a fist. Matthew got married last weekend so we’ve all been talking a lot this week about the family traits. A temper is definitely something all the kids have inherited from their dad.

“Identity- 10. I will really try to be noticed by behaving a little bad and stuff I can get made fun of for.” That part Frankie gets from me. I like to be noticed too. Tim and I would often almost compete in social situations because we both had a pretty good sense of humor. Frankie definitely has a knack for saying off the wall comments that crack you up.

“Acceptance/The need to fit in- 3. I try to be different and be myself.” I think Frankie picked a small number because he doesn’t really care if he fits in. We have this discussion almost every morning when we talk about him combing his hair or wearing clothes that actually fit him. He just doesn’t see the point. Again, he gets some of this from me. I was told in grad school that I am a peach in an apple orchard and like it that way. But then I put myself in a catch-22 because I want all the apples to be comfortable with me too. I hope Frankie doesn’t develop the second half of that characteristic!

“Companionship- 8. I’m usually a little scared at night alone. I’d rather be with my brother.” This is me to a tee. I HATE being alone. All the time, but I feel it the strongest at night. Hate it. Poor Frankie. Should I feel bad that he wants his brother and not his mother? I do. But I also think it is perfectly normal to prefer someone his same gender. Their bedrooms are both upstairs and mine is down. So mostly I’m just glad he has his Colin.

“Communication- 9. I always get in trouble because I love talking with other people.” My report cards are peppered from kindergarten on with comments about my talking too much. I’m now 46 years old and my dad still complains that I’m on the phone too much.

“Self-improvement- 8. I feel bad about myself sometimes.” That one broke my heart. I have consistently gotten feedback my entire life about how hard I am on myself. For years and years. No one needs to get on me, because I am always on my back, wanting to be better. Trying to improve, etc.

So Frankie doesn’t fall far from the tree. Hopefully, that isn’t such a bad thing…lol. I just wish he would stop growing up!

Author: Help for Healing

My name is Darcy Thiel. What people say they appreciate most about me is my genuine nature. I utilize my professional and personal experiences to increase my understanding and compassion to help others. My career has many faces, so let me tell you about a few. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State and am a couple and family therapist. As an Adult Planning Specialist and End of Life Doula, I take my experiences with my parents’ and husband's illnesses and passing to help others navigate the crazy, complicated medical world we live in. This dovetails with the books I have written. Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey with Cancer, the prequel to Life After Death, on This Side of Heaven is an honest and raw perspective on coping with the diagnosis and subsequent loss of Tim, my spouse. I have done extensive speaking on the above topics through live audiences, radio shows, and an occasional TV spot. For more information, see my websites at,, or Copyright Help for Healing by Darcy Thiel © 2012-2019. All rights reserved.

One thought on “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

  1. What an insightful young man! We love you both, just as you are!
    (I would LOVE to see/use this assignment with my students!)

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