Eulogy to My Father

Sometimes we give all that we can,

and it’s not enough.

Will never be,

unto death.

Other times

(and this may be a mistake)

We do not.

 

Wounded pride,

arrogance,

hurt,

sensitivity;

anger, fear, resentment

keep us from it.

 

We cannot give

what we do not possess.

There is only this

to forgive.

 

18 comments on “Eulogy to My Father”

  1. Wow. This is amazing, and the picture only makes it more haunting.

    • Nicholas, you’ve got the sentiment. Dad was a haunting (and doubtless haunted) person. Complex and full of rage and regret, he was also a big-hearted man who loved nature and animals and, despite his misguided treatment of them, children. May he rest in peace.

  2. I wonder how many of us have that eulogy in our hearts for a parent. I know I’ve pummeled the Universe with my question, “what was the plan?” I can’t wait to get the answer to that.

  3. Margaret, I have wondered this countless times in my life. With getting older, however, and time healing what it can, I’ve come to understand the complexities intrinsic to human nature. I’ve come to understand how this man was so wounded he was actually incapable of certain things we may find easy. He was a great teacher, though I never would have come close to understanding this as a child. I grew up fast, asking questions nobody around me was even interested in. Made me who I am today, for which I am grateful. Blessings to you.

  4. Everything I would like to say to you seems trite at this time. I am sorry, Bela
    Jim
    P.S. great name!

  5. Thanks, Jim. I appreciate your condolences, although Dad died a few years ago. It’s only been recently that I’ve emerged into a place of genuine forgiveness and dispersed the ghosts that lingered. This poem was one way of doing that …

  6. Bela,

    For once your verse has brought sadness into me.
    I do not know why, could it be that picture of your Dad?

    It is an aspect of life that Parents bestow self less love and give all they can ( and have!) to their children. I am not sure whether children can have the same mindset towards their parents. This is how nature ensures survival of the species I guess. Be as it may the manifestation of selfless love and giving can be so very wonderful.

    Loved the post Bela, thank you.

    Shakti

  7. Aloha Shakti, and thank you. Sadness is what I most feel when I think of my dad. He was a very troubled soul who vascillated between his love for nature, animals and his wife and kids – and a blind rage that he mostly took out on the wife and kids, assisted by alcohol. His was a life fraught with difficulties from the beginning, and because of these things, he simply could not conceptualize redemption, nor could he step far enough away from his ego (which served to prop him up in his confusion) to acknowledge the harm he had done to others and seek to make things right. He left quite a bit of damage in his wake, and, after years of running the spectrum from hate to sadness to forgiveness and ultimately unconditional love, I continue deepening my understanding of what gifts he bestowed upon me in this life; to acknowledge that, despite all the suffering perpetrated, he actually was trying to be a good father. And that, dear man, is the unvarnished truth. Peace.

  8. Thank you Bela, My dad died on Dec.9,1992 and I can relate to the “blinding rage- assisted by alcohol” that was part of my father as well, he tried to make amends in his way a few years before he died, the effort was clumsy and inarticulate. Your writing is eloquent and heartfelt,and the photograph is perfect.

    • Terry, thanks for commenting and thanks for your thought- and emotion-filled words. This is a gnarly subject, and one I thought long and hard before making public. I’ve written so much over the years that reflects my own anger with regards to how we as children were treated in this world. And likely none of that will see the light of day, because most of it serves no purpose except to process. And though I’m no advocate of holding back what is genuine, I don’t see that it serves a purpose to add more anger to the seething mass of human angst when I’m writing creatively – especially if it has no purpose other than to vent. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I published this piece, but when I ‘felt’ it, I could sense mostly sadness and regret. These are feelings all of us can relate to, for one reason or another – and, like a portal we pass through, can transport us to another side, another view – where hopefully we are able to align with a more compassionate approach to All of humanity. That is my hope for all who linger in similar circumstances. Peace.

  9. Lovely words and an excellent reminder of how pride can be so hurtful if we use it as a barrier to move forward.

  10. Thanks so much for adding your voice to the conversation, MargeKatherine. And you are so right! “Pride comes before a fall” is a truth I cannot deny. I, too, have had my pride in the past – and it comes upon me almost unbidden still, at times. But I have gained the realization that it kept and keeps me separate – not just from those I perceived wrong/ed me or offend/ed me in some way – but also from the more tender aspects of relating both to others as well as to myself! Thus I discover that genuine forgiveness simply takes the time it takes, while we founder and blunder through the vicissitudes of personality; dropping layers of useless energies like so many badly-chosen outfits. Aloha, and thanks again for taking time to share your thoughts!

  11. Very beautiful poem, Bela, and a very touching photo.

  12. It was beautiful and heart touching. I always believe there are two most beautiful bonds we share as humans one which a father and a daughter shares and the other one is between a mother and her son. And you as always did not fail to capture that beautiful bond. And I think the photo help us visualize those thoughts which were roaming in your mind while writing this piece on paper. Best wishes to you Bela. Great work once again.

  13. Thanks so much, Arindam. I would not call my relationship with my father ‘beautiful’ in and of itself – though it is kind and hopeful of you to say it. He was a complicated, angry man whom I have come to realize loved his children as much as he was able, given his own life up to that point. He simply could not reconcile intentions with subsequent actions, and kept tangling the web until the day he died. Very sad.

    What I WOULD call beautiful is what he exposed me to as a child – the opera! Hiking in the woods! Boating on the ocean! Literature and philosophy! All the things that keep me tethered to this beautiful planet, despite all the pain and suffering, this man either taught or introduced me to. Which makes our relationship even more complicated! And such is life and the human condition …


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