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


  • Daniel Wade Clarke University of Dundee School of Business




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


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.


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Author Biography

Daniel Wade Clarke, University of Dundee School of Business

Daniel Wade CLARKE is a lecturer in management and marketing at the University of Dundee School of Business. His scholarship centers around issues related to organizational space and place. He studies business management education and customer experience, as well as son-father relations and experiences of loss. His interests are framed by a desire to develop evocative forms of understanding through the use of imaginative-creative and expressive representations including autoethnography, research poetry and visual imagery.




How to Cite

Clarke, D. W. (2018). On the (Im)possibility and Bliss of Telling My Dad, "I Love You". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-19.2.2903



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