Real Men Never Cry!

"Suck it up! Be a man. Real men don't ever cry.
Only sissies and girls cry!" Thus was John taught
By his father, a stern and rigid man,
Who, living by this code, offered stoic silence rather than
Providing comfort whenever John throughout his life had sought
His father's emotional support; so, later in life, hard as he might try,
John would not recall an single instance in his entire life
Seeing his father cry no matter his grief, no matter his strife.

John's father was a good and virtuous sort, dedicated
To truth, honor, and duty, a man of highest principle
Who loved and protected his family and friends by actions predicated
On his belief that never showing any weakness he might somehow be invincible.
Yet John knew that his father was inside filled with love and caring.
Once even, at a time when John was still young and daring,
He had asked his father why it was that he seemed so bound
Upon keeping his emotions so well contained, so tightly wound.
No answer did he receive, nor was it ever again to get any mention.

Years did pass, and John grew into a man leading an independent life.
His father's health failed, eventually forcing him to take an early pension.
But, he seemed not to mind any misfortune as long as he had his wife
In whom he could confide, with whom all life's struggles he could share.
Then, when his mother died, John expected to see his father in complete despair.
But, even at her funeral, his father remained emotionless and dry-eyed.
John's wife thought his father must be dead inside, turned to stone.
John simply said that he would never understand this man, no matter how he tried.
After his mother's death, his dealing with his father became mainly by phone,
As his father withdrew into a secluded, lonely life.

When years later a son was born to John and his wife,
John wasn't even sure if to the hospital his father would come.
But his father did appear "To see my only grandchild and bid him welcome."
John took his newborn son and gently placed him in his father's hands.
"A fine strong boy! He'll grow up to become a great man."
Said his father, carefully examining this grandson just beginning life so new.
"Father, you have never allowed yourself to show the love that I knew
Dwelled inside you all of your life. I want to show my love for you
By now giving my son, your first grandson, your namesake, your name to wear.
May he carry it well and to both him and you bring only honor to bear."
John looked at his father, now expecting him to speak,
But, instead he saw... tears streaming down his cheek.

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.27.01    printer friendly