Father and Son


(Written several years ago when my father came from a distant
state to reside in the nursing home where I worked at that time.)

I did not know him as a son
hopes to know a father.
That was my thought as
I laid him to rest
in his new bed and circumstances
at the nursing home
in which I labor
for daily bread and respect.

Though present throughout my childhood,
it was an impression of absence he
relinquishing to mother
the dispensation of love and direction
and other childhood necessities.
And in her compliant shadow I grew
with no expectations of him,
only those secret longings
I could not name.

Now, he and his need,
with a minimum of warning,
have erased plotted distances
to reenter my life
like a dull thud,
disturbing what had been
a satisfying harmony
between family, job and benign
expectations for tomorrow.
And in a moment I taste it–
resentment flavored with
just a sliver of gratitude
for this intrusion

© 1998 Dennis Ference
(First published in America.)

4 thoughts on “Father and Son

  1. wonderful reflection Dennis. I had a similar experience growing up with my father, though only a brief reconnection later on a shared trip before he died. I like your description of how he bowed or bestowed the child raising to your mother. That was exactly my experience, so he was like a shadow presence.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, Brad

    • It turned out to be a real gift for me to have him at the end. Even though he suffered from dementia there was a lot of closure for me in those final years. Thanks for the sharing. -Dennis

  2. Your dad came to “reenter my life like a dull thud”. Wonderful image of your dad’s almost sudden move to be part of your “complacent” life near the end of his days. I’m happy for you. Thanks for sharing more of yourself.

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