Academic journal article English Journal

How to Survive Your Father's Death

Academic journal article English Journal

How to Survive Your Father's Death

Article excerpt

I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be."

T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Focus on your father's meanness, insensitivity, entitlement. The overall absence of caring.

Remember when he punished you without considering what you were going through, my god, you were a teenager, didn't that count for something?

Uncover his wild youth, his betrayal of one girlfriend, then another, then a life partner, then his series of lovers, and finally what he did that made your mother love him. His seeing into the life in her and defying those who judged him.

Connect the dots of these seemingly random passions to draw the shape of his character. Fill in this outline with neon highlighters in your least favorite colors.

Remember at least one time when you were alone with him. (Make sure it's a time when you remember clearly how much you had looked forward to being with him.)

Imagine what you thought he would be like when no one else was around-concerned for your smallest feelings, gently humorous, making things seem alright no matter how bad, and entirely focused on you, only you, no one but you. …

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