On the (Im)possibility and Bliss of Telling My Dad, "I Love You"

Daniel Wade Clarke


While fathers seldom say "I love you" to their son(s), there is also acknowledgment that sons rarely say it to their father. Confessions of love are like notes in a melody of previous affirmations, so what is it like for a son to say it, especially if large parts of his life are spent in "connective avoidance" with his dad? Writing on the (im)possibility of eventually saying "I love you," just before he died, I offer a "blissfully poetic" account of the experience of saying it. I also reflect on the lingering significance it has had for my experience of loss and bereavement. Although this text offers no easy formula, it ends by showing what a text of bliss might eventually look like for a son in recovery. Addressing the questions, so what? And, now what, then? implications beyond the self are also considered.


son-father relations; personal narrative; research poetry; grief; love; lingering; blissful writing; autoethnography

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-19.2.2903

Copyright (c) 2018 Daniel Wade Clarke

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