Essay PreviewMore ↓
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.
How to Cite this Page
"Eulogy for Father." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Sep 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Eulogy for Father As you all know, there were certain things Loyd liked -- dogs, and poker games, football, and airplanes -- and there were certain things he didn’t like -- carrots, political speeches, telephone solicitations (especially those made by insurance men), and long-winded eulogies. I won’t do that because for every story that I could tell today about Loyd, his friends here today could tell fifty more. I am very secure in the knowledge that Loyd lived every day of his life to the fullest and I feel that Mother and Delia Ruth are secure in that knowledge as well.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
604 words (1.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
1411 words (4 pages)
- Eulogy for Father "I have been having a lot of feelings since my father's illness and death and we will see how long the feelings will allow me to speak. By far the biggest feeling I have had has been gratefulness. Gratefulness to have stood in the shade of my father's tree. Because to me my father was like a tree in many ways. An oak tree. An oak who's taproot was anchored in faith and in the Divine, and with branches and leaves that act as a home for those around. I stood in that home and for that I am so grateful.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
947 words (2.7 pages)
- Eulogy for Father On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank all of you for your compassion and for being present here today. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Mauri-Lynne, and I'm Lionel's daughter. Dad was devoted to every one of you. We all hope that you'll share your memories of him with us, if not today then in the weeks and months to come. My father was committed to the practice and preservation of Jewish life. His religious beliefs informed everything he did. Particularly fond of traditional music, he and I spent many hours listening to the treasured recordings he'd collected over the years.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
1178 words (3.4 pages)
- Eulogy for Father For the first time in my life, I'll celebrate Father's Day this year without my dad. The man who had the most influence on the man I became passed away on April 14. Jack was 79. It has been said that the loss of a parent is one of life's most traumatic events. I now know the devastating truth of that statement. I've been told that, in time, the hurt will fade, only to be replaced by positive memories that soothe the soul. Already, I can feel that happening. Maybe it's because my father and I had a simple and loving relationship.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
735 words (2.1 pages)
- Eulogy for Father On behalf of myself, my mom and my brother, I want to thank everyone for being here....On the one hand, I was dreading today. I don't want to cry anymore. I don't want to yearn to hug my dad one last time, long to see his smiling face or hear his cheerful voice. On the other hand, I wanted today to come so that I could be around all of the people who love my dad so that I might feel his presence through sharing memories of him,....sharing tears....and maybe even sharing some laughter.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
679 words (1.9 pages)
- Eulogy for Father Thank you all so much for coming today to help my brother, sisters and me remember our father, Ralph. I am so happy to be able to look out and see the faces of those very special people who cared for dad and supported me during the past 3 years at Lincoln Place. I have come to know some very special people, particularly dad's companions...Wahid, dad's companion during his last 16 months, Miajan, Mimi, Sheila, Kabir...I can't thank you enough. Also Merci, Ashya, Julie, Michael...I could not do the job you do so compassionately every day at Lincoln Place.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
891 words (2.5 pages)
- Eulogy for Father On behalf of my family, I want to thank you all for joining us here today to celebrate John’s long and amazingly fruitful life—a life of love extended, commitments kept, and faith observed. John was born in Boscobel, and lived the vast majority of his life in this town. This church is the only church where this ceremony could have been held, and you, his family and friends, are all that he would have asked for today. John was a responsible, loving son to his parents, and played a large and loving role in the lives of his Aunt Catherine, his sister Mary and her family, and his sister-in-law Patricia and her family.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
976 words (2.8 pages)
- Eulogy for Father We are gathered here to give Dr. Jerome, my dad, a last formal farewell. We celebrate his life with the theme of "Choose Life". For throughout his life, dad consistently chose life. He has the God given virtue of seeing the possibility of life. In many circumstances when many are blind, he sees possibilities for more abundant life. His vision is so clear that it drives him to action. And he is a man of action. He always tells me that his actions are calculated risks. Only after his death have I come to understand what he means by calculated risk.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
1111 words (3.2 pages)
- Eulogy for Father This is the last of three formal memorials for my father. The first was in the surroundings of his last years, at his country church in Virginia, among his family and neighbors. The second was in the surroundings of his first years, among the boxwoods in Murfreesboro, in the presence of a large number of his buried ancestors and a smaller number of his living descendants. Today we gather to remember the middle years of his life, the years at Harvard which he considered his greatest, and which many now consider Harvard's greatest.... [tags: Eulogies Eulogy]
984 words (2.8 pages)
"When my father was dying I took care of him. I did some pretty intimate things, like shave him. One night I bent over to kiss him on the forehead and he put up his feeble, shaky arm to push me away: `No son, men don't do that,' he said."
I also know how hard sons struggle with their relationships with their fathers from my own life, of course. As a son I have tried over a long period of time to transcend the intergenerational hierarchical boundary that defines the father as a father and the son as a son, in order to meet my father on a plane where we are both adults.
I worked for many years to reduce my own emotional reactivity to my father. I discovered a way to measure my progress: I would see how long it would take after I crossed the threshold into the family home for me to regress to the surly adolescent I once was. I worked on this for years and made modest progress.
During this time I learned that progress in this kind of work can be facilitated by a ritual event, the kind that signifies the maturity of the son. Well, I wondered what sort of event that would have to be for me, because it certainly didn't happen at my Bar Mitzvah (the Jewish boy's rite of passage), nor did it happen when I left home to go to college, nor when I married, nor when I became a father myself, nor when I earned my doctoral degree!
I had just about given up on ritual events until the wedding of my daughter Caren almost 10 years ago. That did it. My father and I seemed to relate a bit more easily from that point onward. And, as a dramatic punctuation to this transformation, my brother Lowell got into an argument with my father during the rehearsal dinner, an argument very similar to those that I used to find myself in.
Why is the son-father relationship so difficult? Being a son I can't quite shake the feeling that I am not really qualified to say, but I think it starts out with a series of miscommunications:
* Sons, banished from the comfort of a close relationship with their mothers at an uncomfortably early age lest they develop into sissies or mama's boys, look to their dads for some of that lost nurturance.
* Fathers feel a tremendous obligation to make their sons into men, in the classical/traditional sense of stoic, aggressive, self-reliant, stay-calm-in-the-face-of-danger manhood. As a result they feel that it is their job to wean their sons of their neediness, and to put a hard shell around their child's vulnerable emotions (such as fear, sadness, hurt and loneliness).
* Males as a rule are not particularly good at sensing other people's emotions nor in expressing their own, so the miscues that begin in early childhood get compounded over the years. Only rarely do they get resolved.
So where am I in all of this? Obviously I find it easier to talk about other people and things in general than to talk about myself as a son in relationship to my own father. And of course this reflects the fact that I do have unfinished business with him.
And just what is this business?
* First of all there is a deep yearning for a close relationship with him. I loved him and wanted to know that he loved me. It took years of work to get beyond the anger so that I could admit that to myself.
* Then there are a lot of son questions:
- What was it like for him to be my dad, especially during the early years when he was stationed in the Pacific during WWII and saw me only rarely? What did he think about during those long absences?
- What did he feel when he learned that, as a two year old living with my mother and maternal grandparents, I would open the shirt of any man who came to the house to check and see if he had enough chest hair to be dad?
- What was his reaction when at the age of four I packed my pockets with snow upon leaving Minnesota to reunite with him in California because I thought he would really like snow.
- Why was he always so tense and unhappy in that house on Ledgewood Road?
- Why was he so disapproving and angry at me?
Earlier this morning as I viewed my father's body at the mortuary, I pondered what I was going to do with all of this unfinished business, and I came to the following conclusions:
* He was a good provider and a responsible contributing member of the community. From working long hours as a printer, to owning his own printing shop, to working for others as an estimator, to his non-retired retirement of working for SCORE and being actively involved in the American Legion and the VFW, he gave it his all.
* Despite the outward argumentativeness, he and my mother Wilma were as close as two people can ever be, and I feel blessed that I was able to celebrate their Golden Anniversary two years ago.
* He had some spectacular talents. He could perform a long series of arithmetical operations with six and seven digit numbers entirely in his head.
* He had some severe limitations, some resulting from his own childhood, others from WWII. It is sad that he was so self-sufficient that he could never avail himself of help.
* He fully lived up to his standards, which were the standards of his generation, a generation unlike my own whose world view was shaped by the severe hardship of the Great Depression and the near calamity of WWII.
* He did the best he could with what he had.
I LOVE YOU
I'LL MISS YOU