Saturday, January 25, 2020
Eulogy for Father :: Eulogies Eulogy
Eulogy for Father I stand before you today to pay my last respects, and to say my final goodbyes, to my father Harry. I have to admit at the outset that it is very difficult to do this. The difficulty is not just due to the obvious causes -- the sadness, the grief, and the sense of loss. Nor is it due to the confrontation with death in its utter finality, and the resulting fear regarding one's own mortality. No, this is difficult for me primarily because of all of the unfinished business that I have with my father. And while a part of me continues to nurture the hope that, had he lived longer, I would have been able to finish my business, I have to acknowledge that this is not true. Because, the fact is, it is very hard for sons to ever attain a really clear perspective on their own fathers. I know this to be true from my 20 years of experience as a psychologist whose central interest has been fatherhood. In the Fatherhood Course that I teach, this issue of son-father business usually comes up in the first class. We might be talking about why the men decided to enroll in the course, and after a few guys give the standard reasons, and others make some quips, the mood palpably shifts to serious as one father speaks, lower lip quivering: "You want to know why I am here? I'll tell you why I am here. I am here so that my little son Timmy will not feel as bad about me when he's grown up as I do about my own dad." The man's words hit the room like a hurricane, and soon the theme of father son business is on every man's lips. The fathers then become sons and talk about the grief, pain and bitterness they feel toward their own fathers. Let's go into the classroom now, so that you can hear these men's voices: "I never know what my father thought. He just would never talk about himself." "I know he loved us because he was a good provider. He worked two jobs in order to put all five of us though parochial school and several of us though college. But I never knew if he liked me." "To this day I wonder what he really thinks of me. Is he proud of me?" "Every time I call home, Dad answers the phone, and it usually goes like this: `Hi.