Old Man

“And grief, like love, is resistant to reason….”

Mark Slouka’s father recently died. He acknowledges that old men die every day, but then his dad isn’t just any old man, and there is also the kicker that he is now the sole living member of his family—no aunts or uncles, no cousins, no brothers or sisters—no more shared blood. I understand this strange circumstance as I am also the last one standing in my family.

Nobody’s Son, however, plumbs deeper truths about how we all wrestle with the death of a parent—regardless of the quality of their parenting skills.

Slouka takes us by the hand and moves us into what it means to have a parent, and then onto our love/hate relationship with them. He then loiters around the risk we take when we consider being openly honest with a parent: will a conversation enlighten and resolve earlier discord or will we regret having spoken?

Whatever the quality of the relationship Slouka nails the intimacy that can’t be ignored when he says: “He’d lived a long, heartbreaking, and extraordinary life, lived it, on the whole, more decently than most, and when he came to the end of it, he died. It doesn’t get more ordinary than that—the dying part, at least. Except that he was my father. And grief, like love, is resistant to reason. It was him and me. And now it ain’t.”

Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy the full article: