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Published by James Hampton at

Copyright © 2012 by James Hampton

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I wept at the funeral, though no one saw or heard me. I suspect that many of those in attendance, including family members and longtime friends, would have been surprised to see I was even capable of tears.

My composure is legendary, you see.

But, as with all things, it has its limits. And these were much in evidence on that bright, windy morning last fall. Look at what I had lost, though: any chance of ever rekindling a relationship with my only son. The son I loved more than life itself, but loved in a way that was inarticulate and clumsy and saddled with conditions.

Now all I have are memories of him: memories I will carry with me for the rest of my days on Earth.

The most recent of these are incredibly painful. They are filled with arguments, accusations, and criticisms. I see him standing there, cheeks flushed with anger, fists clenching and unclenching, telling me that I am a failed, abusive father. Telling me that I was a cold husband to his late mother, whom he claims I treated cruelly even into the final years of her life, when the cancer was eating her alive. Declaring that when he is a father and a husband himself, he will strive to be as different from me as possible.

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