Tuesday, May 04, 2010


My dad died tonight.  

Albert Sutter.  Not exactly sure how old he was, late 80's.  After my mother died four years ago, he never really recovered.  Al had nothing that stirred his heart, mind or soul.  He was terribly unhappy.  Suffering from the onset of dementia, he simply lost the will to live.  He died of pneumonia complications a few hours ago in New Jersey. 

I know this will sound callous, but I'm not sad.  Part of me wishes I was.  I wish his death were a gut-wrenching experience that flooded me with memories and cracked my heart open.  But alas, no. 

My lack of grief is not that complicated.  I'm sure a few years on a couch could figure out the specifics, but the truth is, I never felt close to my father.  Something happened a long time ago, way before I was responsible for my actions -- for some reason, I severed the bond.  It was clear to me at an early age that Al wasn't the place I went to feel good about myself.  

My dad was raised in Port Elizabeth, NJ.  He was a popular, street kid who boxed Golden Gloves, built cars, served two tours in WWII and Korea.  He was a bad ass.  Not a prick, just incredibly cool.  I was not cool.  I was a troubled kid.  Morbidly obese, hyper-sensitive, a loner, a chronic dreamer.  I was a huge embarrassment to my dad.  Without the sensitivity or people skills to reach out to me, his frustration with who I wasn't was difficult for him to conceal.  The more embarrassed he got, the more of an embarrassment I became.  It was painful for both of us to be around each other.  The divide grew, the damage was done and neither of us knew how to fix it.  I split at 19, moved 3000 miles away and never looked back.

Katey had an interesting take on parents passing.  She said that we don't mourn who they were as much as who we wish they were.  I guess that's true.  I began that mourning process years ago.  After I got sober in 1993, I had to look at all my family wreckage.  I made amends to my parents and did my best to maintain a loving, albeit superficial relationship with both of them.  

It was at that point I had the clarity to understand that my dad was basically an unhappy guy.  I'm sure at one time he was a young man full of dreams and enthusiasm.  He only had a high school education, but he was incredibly bright and charismatic.  I know he had greater ambitions than being middle-management at GM for 35 years.  My mother was not an adventurous soul.  She was like me, she hated people and didn't like to leave the house.  My dad loved people and loved to travel.  He always deferred to my mother.  Al felt trapped. He was George Bailey without the wonderful life.  And he could never see past his own dissatisfaction.  That innate misery shaped who he was as a man.  I admit, I longed for Mike Brady.  I wanted a father who was present.  Who would sit me down and give me advice -- about sex, girls, life.  I wanted a father who could make me laugh.  More than love, I wanted a dad whom I respected and who respected me.  

Al and me, we could never deliver those things.  

I accepted that reality a long time ago.  That's why I'm not saddened by his death.  Because the truth is I mourned my father's passing thirty years ago when the bond got severed.  All that acting out in my youth -- the obsessive behavior, the eating, the booze and drugs, the anger, the violence -- that was my mourning.  That was me letting go of my father.  So now, I feel a bit empty, nostalgic maybe, but not sad. 

I loved Al as best I could.  Al loved me as best he could.  

What I try to do is learn from my experience with my dad and stop the cycle of self-obsessive disconnect.  I want to be a father who is present for his children.  I go out of my way to talk to my teenage son about all those uncomfortable subjects my father could never broach -- sex, drugs, girls, masturbation, relationships.  I'm strict with my kids, but I praise them more than I correct them.  And I make them laugh.  Constantly.  I fucking make them laugh.  I guess that's how I honor my dad.  That's how I preserve his memory, by taking all the things I wish he was and placing that responsibility on myself, so I pay it forward. 

I don't know where we go when we pass, but I hope Al goes to a happier place.  And I hope he knows, that I am happy with the man I have become.  So despite our disconnect, his path shaped my path and I'm glad he was my father.


Anomynous One said...

I have a friend who recently lost his father. I think this is going to his inbox. Honest, true, THANK you, Mr. Sutter.

Patti said...

My father passed away on March 17th. I look forward to having this kind of peace around it.

Recovery for me, in this; is not helping. I am envious of you; but also grateful that you are not going through the other emotions I am all to familiar with right now.

Spiritual peace to you and yours

Jasmin said...

Wow, you truly are a man of great words! As people I think we always take the bad from someones death rarely look at what can be taken from it in a positive way. You are a true bad ass Kurt and truly are a gift to this world. Thank You for being so honest and for willing to share something that is so deep. SOA FOREVER! <3

Rob said... old man is still alive and truth be told will most likely outlive me...but we got a big distance right now between us that makes this post a creepy dad was an/is asshole...bitter also about his life I don't know if the man ever had dreams but fucker was there...for everything...I wouldn't call him gentle but diffinately kind enough not to kick my ass into a coma...anyways I'm ranting dude...sorry for your loss regardless

Anonymous said...

You're wife is a smart lady. Parental relationships, going each way are so complicated, whether we are exactly like our parents or so different we can't comprehend them. But you are right--the best way to honor them is to learn from what they did right & what they did wrong so that hopefully we can create better relationships in our own lives. But it doesn't necessarily make these moments easier. My condolences.

BigScary Bob said...

I lost mine last year as well. Went through much the same as you, except we never found some kind middle ground. We just went about our lives and tolerated each other. At his service I was the only dry eye in the house and couldn't help but wonder why all these folks felt a loss this large. I asked myself over and over who was this stranger. Both the one they knew and to one I knew were complete strangers to the other. My sense of relief was so large that I don't even want to know how they could feel so differently about him than I did. I was glad it was over and have moved on quite prematurely in my own way as well. It's too often artists of one sort or another that have this experience as kids. I believe that jails ore populated frustrated artists with no encouragement or recognition from the folks who matter most. Too often I have seen guys on the inside who were amazingly creative with an artist grasping at any means to get out. Just a weird little observation I have made from the unrecognized apparent loss I was supposed to suffer along with everyone else.

John and Kitty said...

Our prayers are with you and your family.

Unknown said...

I dont talk with my dad at all.
Our conflict began when i was 13, now 13 yrs have passed and we still have nothing in common.
What would it be in next few years..

I'm sorry bout your dad.
All the best

Unknown said...

Let me start by saying I watch your show and am current on my fix of Sons.
I too recently lost my father. August 30th 2009. However, I did/do miss him and his loss to me is a great one. But I did accept it instantly because I had "grown up" and our relationship evolved into one that I could talk to him about sex, women, LIFE! I made my amends and had 10 good years of a real relationship with him. For that I am grateful.
But I can certainly relate to the mourning a parent the way you describe. My mother. She is not dead yet but the lack of presence figuratively and literally has me sitting here reflecting on it.
I, too, have chosen a path of sobriety (clean) and I am at that point in my life where the past is really wearing on me. Even haunting me. I try to stay present but every now and then some memory or bit of information jogs that awareness that I'm still stuck in the past in some ways.
For example, I'm researching depression because I think I may have it. But that's another story. I say that to say this... It led me to a link about interpersonal rejection. WOW !! So much shit comes to mind when I think of my childhood and the interaction with other kids and my parents through the years. It's a wonder I'm even remotely functional.
I don't know where this is coming from or going but I am very glad you shared so openly and honestly with us about your dad.

Thank you,

Mike Jones

Anonymous said...

I'm about 20 years your dads' junior & lost my father about 30 years ago. He served all but 3 mos. in the Phillippines in WW2. As a kid,my parents got along well enough but by the time I was a teen, it was all but over. My mom had become pretty cruel to him & he just took it until there wasn't much man left. He lived alone & upon visiting him, he put on a happy face but I knew he was empty. We couldn't get him out much & when we did, he made sure he was miserable. The last 5 years of his life he was sick with a bad heart, had corrective surgery but didn't do as he should have & ended up passing away in his recliner. I saw all this coming for years & tried to prepare but no matter how hard you try the preps only did so much good.Without going into specifics, I probably learned more of how NOT to do things rather than how TO. He was overall a good man,just became a wimp. I was determined to try & be a better man & parent than he was & that should probably be every parents goal. We heal in different way & given time, you too will find a place to put things. Strangely enough, I too am proud to have been his son and I think he would also be proud of the man, dad, & human being I've become, in spite of and because of him. I think of him often. The good, bad, & the ugly.

Kurtis R. Osterlund said...

I lost my dad three years ago. I was 29 and I realized not long afterward that the saddest part of him dying was that I would no longer have any blood relatives I would consider family. My brother is a worthless piece of shit and my mother is a cheap whore, so while I do mourn the loss of my father, the loss of family was that much greater.

I'm getting married this month. I love my wife to be with all that I am. Maybe with time we can build a family like you and Katey have. Thanks for making me think.

Anonymous said...

You said some very wise words there Kurt. Thank you for taking the time to write. I read your blog regularly. I am sorry for your loss. Stephanie, Milton Keynes, England.

Anonymous said...

I always read your blog from the perspective of a great admirer who's afraid to comment, but this time I'll do it...

My father's still alive but I feel identified with most of what you have written here, I get on well with him but we have a sort of distant relationship, I mean, he never gave me advice about anything and when I talk to him he gets annoyed if I don't go straight to the point.

I think that his way of being is shaping me because I always thought about being a different kind of man than he is

My thoughts are with you Mister Sutter

Unknown said...

This was so beautiful and so true for many of us. I am glad you found your peace, Thank you so much.
Emily Premel
Torrance California

Deb said...

I'm glad you have been able to make peace with the past. Hopefully your father finds that same peace now. I am sorry for your loss.

Tommy Toolz said...


I had similar feelings for a long time. I've never been able to put it into words, but you said it best. Thank you for helping me to finally understand what it was I've been going through for the last 13 years. I can finally accept and move on. Thank you for that as well.

Matt said...

Although you've made your peace with your father in your heartfelt though unconventional eulogy, I still would like to wish you and your family my condolences. Thanks for sharing this difficult time with us.

Unknown said...

So very sorry to hear about your Dad, Kurt...

dogboy443 said...

Thanks Kurt. I lost my Dad 5 years ago and alcohol drove a huge wedge between us, He never could part with his demon in the bottle. He tried, but he was weak. He was a care-giver, an M.D. who knew how to heal others, but never himself or his own.

Unknown said...

Wow! That was extremely interesting. I love hearing stories about parents and how they shape and mold their childrens lives in so many ways, good and bad. Yours is great in my opinion because of the ending. That you are now trying and by the sound of it succeeding at being everything that your dad wasn't! Good for you! On another note I see that he was in the Navy. I am currently in the Navy and with all due respect to you and your father..."PRESENT ARMS!"......"READY TWO!" I salute him as a shipmate and thank him for his sacrifice and service! God Bless you and your family.

SouthpawRN said...

Honest take on your relaionship! I admire your intellegence to take it on as what it was and not continue the cycle with your kids! We learn those skills from our folks. Guess we also can learn what we didn't like and change in respect to our kids! Much respect to you Mr. Sutter. Can't wait for SOA season 3! I also enjoy your blogs! Your should write a book, ( if you haven't already) I'd buy it and read it!

Anonymous said...

This was so well written I got visions of a man in my head that I never met... Sad but I feel in your heart you have got past this. I admire you for being the wonderful father to your kids. I totally get it when you say " I fucking make them laugh" I am the same with my kids They respect me and we have the same smart ass sense of humor. A trait I am very proud of. Thanks for the very personnel peek into your life... I really wanted to keep reading.. Dede

Szilvia said...

You know, our dads had a few things in common. Mine was also a cool guy when he was young, a boxer, a ladies man and a heartless insecure little man who didn't know better than to take that frustration out on his wife and only child.

Just like you, I never met his expectations. My parents divorced when I was 12 and my mom was surprised to hear me ask why they had waited so long? Years later, struggling with the stomache aches I got every time I had to see my dad and his new family (who were just as disfunctional as we had been) -I finally made the tough desicion to end the pain.

Being a person who's always trying to better herself, it felt like I got dragged 5 steps back everytime we met. The sense of accomplishment I had worked so hard for was obliterated the second my dad opened his mouth. So I wrote him a letter, an honest letter where I described what I felt when being in his company and what I had wished for. All I wanted was him loving me for who I was, not who he wanted me to be. All I wanted was respect, support and that he'd be proud of me.

I since then have no contact with him apart from the occasional text message (wow, way respect and love huh) wishing me happy birthday or merry christmas. And even though it might sadden me that I don't have the support, that rock that my dad was supposed to be in my life, I've learned to cope without him. I am stronger without him than with him in my life. In my battle to find inner peace and love myself, I have enough self-critique, I don't need an extra dose of his.

So to end this (long) reply, I just want to say that I understand where you're coming from. You've already mourned your dad a long time ago. People like us have to deal with the separation and the loss of what should be, but isn't -as a way of surviving. If we hadn't, we'd not only be stuck in our bad places but we'd go on missing something we could never have a long time after they've passed away.

I am glad to read that at least one man and father out there has learned the lesson of -do better than what your parents did with you. And in a weird way, had you not gone through all of that with your dad, then maybe you wouldn't have been such a good one yourself. Life throws crap our way so we learn and better ourselves.

Keep honoring your dad by being a great one yourself.

Wishing you and your family peace

Robert, Ireland said...


Unknown said...

My condolences Kurt. Sounds like you have a very good perspective on this, but it still sucks to lose people in your life.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sutter: sending you condolences on the loss of your father. I like what Your lovely wife said about mourning parents. That has been true in my case. Much of your story sounded a little too familiar. My father passed in 2005 with much unresolved between us. How sad !! I mourned him but mostly the lost moments, that he wasn't proud of me, that I never really knew him ( the man buried deep inside). My dad was a Navy man and spent his last years on his sailboat.
Your blog touched me greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Unknown said...

It seems as though a weight has been lifted, and if Al reads this, I'd bet he's a very proud father right now. RIP Al.

Brian B said...

I know your not sad man but i still wanted to pass along my condolences. Its tough when a family member passes and I will keep you and your family im my prayers.

Brian B

Leiah said...

I believe one of the the greatest gifts we can give our children is trying to be to them the parent we wished we'd had. Keep up the good work, seems like you're doing one helluva job.

Susan Weller said...

I was adopted by my grandparents and I lost them both by the time I was 16. To me, my father was a hero, he flew in WWII, he was a doctor. To most people he was an a**hole, but I saw that as the courage to speak his mind and not worry about politeness or being PC.
The thing was, his biological children, who were much older than I was had similar experiences as you did.
I have always believed that this wasn't as simple in a disappointment in them, it was more a disappointment with the world. People from that generation, especially the veterans, seemed very let down by the government and the whole philosophy that grew up in the 60's and 70's that led to a dissatisfaction with everything. My father never got over Nixon's betrayal during Watergate.
I don't offer this as an excuse, nor do I assume to understand the inner workings of your family. Its just something I observed and have tried to explain to my brother whenever he talks about how my father was so disappointed in him.
You have my deepest sympathies on your loss.

Holly Tullos said...

I have said it before and I will say it again.....i love you Kurt Sutter. You have amazing insight and I thank you for sharing it with us. Sorry about your dad.

Moanerplicity said...


I'm sorry to read of your dad's passing. It must be a strange time of reflection for you. Having loss my own dad, there remains a piece that is broken in me and will probably never be fully healed. We had a decent relationship, and while it was never ideal, we'd worked through most of our stuff.

It's okay to feel what you feel. No one else can tell you what or who you should grieve or dictate any grieving style to you. Relationships are often complicated and as human beings, parents are not designed to be perfect people.

I think perhaps, one day, you may see the man through clearer, more sympathetic eyes and FEEL differently. With time often comes clarity.

The reality is: were it not for him, there would be no you.

*Ponder that*

In the meantime, whatever you feel, feel it.



Elise said...

Al sounds a lot like my father.

I send my condolances, even though it seems like you are handling it well.

Lynne said...

Boy do I hear that. Thanks for putting into words what I have always felt.

Anonymous said...

jessica scott -
having not watched one episode and merely dancing with the critics' one-liner grabs for "best show" i'm forced to recalibrate my opinions when I read your work. this is what a writer does, in my humble opinion.
thank you, and please don't stop what you're doing even when it feels like the easier way out. good luck,
jes jessica c. scott, whichever you prefere.

Patrick Devaney said...

Hey man,

Sorry for your troubles. My dad was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and completely cleaned himself up just three months before being diagnosed with cancer, which killed him 4 months later. I was 15 at the time, 26 years ago.

I hear a lot of what you said, about not being sad, about how you distanced yourself. I did all of that, too. When I cried for him, it was over his wasted potential, because he was such a smart guy. And he tried. He just failed, as we all to to different degrees.

The best to your family. Your kids are benefitting from your experience with your dad... sometimes knowing what NOT to do is the best thing to give forward to them.

Take care,
Patrick Devaney

MarkD said...

Walking down the path of recovery sometimes gives us amazing clarity.
When my Dad died in 06, I was decimated. As a kid, he was there and he wasn't, emotionally and physically. He was an enigma I learned more about since his passing than I knew when he was alive.All I can do is take what parenting skills of his that worked, add what little I have learned, and do my best, one day at a time.

liteluvr said...

Mr. Sutter... you have summed up in a few words a lifetime of feelings that I know a lot of us can relate to.
Thank you very, very much for your openness and sharing of something this personal.
I'm sure that wherever your father may be, he would finally be proud of you for living life your own way on your own terms. As a father myself, I can appreciate the journey you've undergone and the truly remarkable destination you've arrived at.

Lady R (Di) said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you Kurt... even if you don't think you need them. I lost my Dad on Feb. 20 this year, and fortunately I'm having the gut wrenching kind of grief. Even though it sucks, I wouldn't change a thing. Take care.


Anonymous said...

Be blessed with your children and my prayers are with you and your family. My father was the same way. We will survive.

Miffed67 said...

How much do societal norms shape what was expected of your dad and what u expect of yourself? Your dad probably did feel trapped, but he did what was expected of him.....raised a kid the way everyone thought young men were supposed to be raised, stood by your mom, etc. The kind of father you are and want to be is also shaped by the different expectations of dads today, who should be more "hands on" and emotionally available. The best we can do is recognize that our parents were human, with human failings, and that we are too.

B E C K Y said...

Thank you for your honesty. Dad called a couple weeks ago to tell me his cancer is terminal. I live almost 900 miles away and have lived my life without him since I was 2. Honestly, the only feeling I had was relief. Relief that my kids wont have to experience the same disappointment from him as I had in my past. How sad is that? He's my father, I should care more - but I don't.

Gil said...

Nonetheless, I am sorry for your loss, thanks for sharing this. All of your blog posts are great reads.

Lennox said...

Man this is really some good honest writing. Keep it up Mr. Sutter, and as a loyal SOA fan, I just wanted to throw this out there... Half-Sack maybe 'haunting' a guilt-ridden Jax as he tries to get his kid back. Just sayin' ;)

Kim T said...

This hit home.......although the strained relationship is with my Mother. My Father & I were very close. I lost a great friend when he died. Thank you for putting your feelings down for us and being so honest. You are an awesome Dude!

dgurisko said...


You are a remarkable man, incredibly intelligent and deep and you show and share your feelings with an intenceness that few have.

You are very insightful. It's not wrong that you are not torn up by his passing, as you said you began the process of grieving him long ago. I thought for a long time that my dad was dead and I felt nothing and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me.

My dad was never a dad though he came in and out of our lives as he pleased and always left nothing but hurt and wreckage.

Late last year I found out that he was not dead at all. Now the man who never wanted to be a father, wants to be a grandfather to my kids. Your post this morning is oddly comforting to me and will lend me strength to stand my ground today. He will be coming into town this afternoon to meet his grandchildren. I have not seen him in 20 years, we've had a several phone calls over the last few months.

I don't know what I want or what I expect out of this. I do believe in at least giving him a chance and I have been totally honest with my kids about their grandparents and my past. I know this will sound so cold, but my life was way easier and I was much more at peace when I thought he was dead. I dealt with things and laid them down and I was everything to my kids that my parents were not.

I have probably told you more than you even care to know, but I was very touched and comforted by your post. I know that seems weird but sometimes even as adults the things we think have all figured out are not what they seem and you can feel as if someone you have never seen, met or who even knows you exist can touch your heart as if they have seen right into it.

Anonymous said...

I lost my father on Jan. 31. We weren't close in recent years but I was at peace with his passing. I have no regrets. And I, like you, learned how to be a better parent from what was lacking in my relationship with him.

I'm sorry for your loss and thank you for your words.

Tina said...

Kurt, I am sorry to hear about your fathers passing. Reading your post I get the feeling that your father wanted to live through you, a life that he could not have and did not know how to obtain. But being your mother's son as you stated- resented you for that. You have a lot to be proud of and I am sure that he simply could not overcome his pride or find the words or the way to tell you. I have been working with the elderly all of my life and I often find this to be true with this generation of men- especially the vets for some reason. It is NOT WRONG not to feel sad. Alzheimers and Dementia is sad. These people "regress in age" and relive their lives through their memories. If their lives and memories were not happy, then neither is their state of dementia - THAT IS SAD. Death is not always sadness, sometimes it is a gift from God. I hope your father has found his happy place, and I'm sure he will present himself to you throughout your life and show you how proud he is in precarious ways. Much love to you and your family my friend. Live, Laugh, Love and Learn - EVERYDAY. --- Tina

Connie D said...

I am sorry for your all you lost Kurt, for many reasons. We can't pick our parents like they can't pick us. We do our best. But like you said, it all shaped you to be who you are and in that sense I thank Mr. & Mrs Sutter. They raised a fine boy.

ChristineHoffman said...

wonderfully written.

You will be a blessing to your children and future grandchildren.

You see the value in being a hands-on parent. You know first hand what a simple conversation would have meant to you as a young teen.

Continue to pay it forward. Continue to be blessed and most importantly continue to be a blessing! Peace be with you.

kali said...

this is an amazing post. (how insightful of katey, btw)

sorry to hear about your dad's passing. sorrier to hear that (it sounds like) he led that willy-lomax-type life of quiet desperation.

as much work as it is to be present, i'm sure glad that i'm ok with being regular today.

best of luck on your journey.

Joe said...

Dude, you are a cunt?

Your dad died and you don't even know how old he was?

PS, 17th of march is my birthday =) enjoy!!

katherine. said...

My condolences. Condole is a good word. Despite any estrangement...there is a physiological loss a parent dies. Lots of stuff to think about.

I am distanced from my father as well. After my brother was killed, the combination of his anger and his sadness broke open the facade that had kept his problems at bay. We battled for years...but when it became detrimental for my kids I put him out of our lives.

It was a necessary loss. I know what you mean about grieving the relationship long before the death.

Tom Farley said...

Kurt, my dad died when I was 10 1/2, so I've spent many days in the past 30 years wondering what life would have been like with him.

It's a complex thing, a man's relationship with his father. We can have multiple friends, multiple lovers, multiple children, even multiple father figures. But we all only have one father. There's weight to that, with or without sadness at the old man's passing.

Rest in peace, Al Sutter.

Unknown said...

wow, that was really heavy man. i miss my dad (died 10 years ago.) we were close but not "that" close. not close enough to have ever shared the kind of life experiences that i want to share with my 13 year old boy. it's a struggle to make that connection. i also make a big effort to talk about the big stuff i never talked about with my dad and god knows i crack enough jokes. but there's a fine line between being funny and being an embarrassment. :-) ya know? no matter how cool we know we are, we're still dad - the guy who says inappropriate shit in front of the kid and his friends.

kurt, thank you for your blogs. the shows speak for themselves but you sharing with us the way you do is really special.

- chris

Joe said...

Thanks for that post it reminds me of a relationship in my own family....I am a big fan of your show as I was raised around a club.
Take Care

Unknown said...

People tend think that whatever makes them happy, applies to everyone and will make them happy. We do this as parents a lot. One of the biggest surprises I had when I became a parent was that the way I envisioned how my kids would be before they arrived, is totally different than the way that they are.

It is also sometimes hard to differentiate what would be best for them vs. what would make things easier for me as a parent. My son is very much like you - sensitive, smart and a dreamer. I am sensitive too, so I get it. But I do not want him to agonize over every little thing and miss out on the rest of the world. So sometimes it is a struggle to show that to him without making him feel that there is part of him I do not like or accept. Kids often do not completely understand unconditional love.

I lost my dad in March. We had a difficult relationship when I was younger due to his drinking. But we made peace and had a nice relationship in the past 15 years. I am sorry for your loss. In whatever way you mourn, I feel for you. There is no one way. It may just be a fleeting thought at some strange time. Or mourning for different childhood and absence of hurt feelings. Whatever it is you feel, I hope that you also get to feel peace.


Anonymous said...

Hello Kurt, what you are feeling about your fathers passing is totally normal given the situation, to give you an idea, my father walked out on my mum and me when i was 15, in the last 28 years there has been hardly any contact until he got in contact last year and told us that he has Parkinsons. Like you, i feel nothing for him even though he thinks he can start up a relationship with me and that nothing has changed between us. Kurt, this is a normal reaction to what has happend so please dont let it worry you, all the best to you and Katy.

Cindy said...

I love that you are at peace with your father. My father died when I was three so I have no memories of him. My mom remarried when I was 14 and I've been blessed with a good stepfather, though I too longed for the "ideal" dad. (In my case it was Steve Douglas from My Three Sons.)
I cried when I read your description of the relationship between your dad and yourself. With a few minor changes you could be talking about my son and his dad. Your description of yourself (obese, dreamer, etc.) are the same words I would use to describe my son. He is has often described himself as a disappointment to his dad.
It is a cycle as I know my husband was somewhat of a disappointment to his own father.
I hope my son is able to do what you did and break the cycle. I hope he can become as good of a father as you have become.
Peace, and thanks for listening.

bowiechick said...


Anonymous said...

20 years of bulll between me and my father dissapeared in October, partly in thanks to SOA.
Somehow Gemmas confession and the familys reaction, broke through to us on some primal level. Calling my dad at 12:30 in the morning we cried and spoke, and stoppde balming each other for thigns that were out of our control when I was growing up. We are now communicating on a level that I thought would never happen. Thank you Kurt I completley identify with what you are saying about your father, mine too is very much the same. I hope that we can move forward in our relationship and learn to love and aceept each other on some adult level...6 months so far. So keep a well thought, and take comfort..and know that even if your relationship with your dad was severed you helped someone to begin to repair theirs.

Webster World said...

Wow just relived my life. Loved my mom deeply. But when my dad past..I felt releaf.

FabricalDreams said...

Condolences Kurt.

Liz said...

Kurt, I want to thank you for verbalizing all the things I went through with my own parents. They both died years ago, but I was left unmoved. My father didn't enjoy the company of children, preferring his adult friends. My mother was very much like yours, a loner. In her final years, she retreated into a fantasy world and became even more of a stranger.

I see other families going places together, being happy together, and it fills me with such sadness and a sense of deprivation. Like you, I've tried to do a better job with my children...they're grown now, and still speaking to me, so that's something, right?

Your essay helped me so much to see that others have gone through the same things. I am so embarrassed to say that I cried tears over the death over a favorite goldfish, but none for my parents. Bummer.


John said...

Thats pretty deep.. I guess in a lot of ways my childhood mirrored yours.

Funny how I went on but staid away from drugs/prison etc and work for some big corp with no college I still fell a major hole.

The hole comes from how he robbed me with the abuse etc. I have no feelings for him and to be honest I don't even know if he is alive.

My break away happened much sooner than yours and maybe thats why by the time I was 18 I didn't follow a lot of my friends off the cliff. All of that doesn't matter because today I like what I have become and have no regrets.

The biggest thing is making sure my little girl and any future kids never feel like this. The odd thing is how is it so easy to do. I think thats what I do get butthurt about. Why can I be a father and hell its not drag on me?

Maybe our Fathers weren't hugged enough or spent .75 sec to long in the birth canal without air.. Guess we will never know..

dawn said...

from someone who has lost practically every person that has meant anything to her (except for my children & their father), i extend my condolences. live, love, be happy.

Francisco said...

Sorry for your loss. I lost my Mother on 10/12/2001 to diabetic complications and breast cancer. Not a day goes by that I can hear her in my head making a comment about something. We had lots of laughs and good times. I ordered a brand new Roadking on my birthday and was told it would take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive. I got a call from the H-D dealer saying that it would arrive earlier than expected. I took delivery on 10/12/2006! I still have my Father and it pains me to see him growing older and dependent on his children for assistance, but thats how life goes. You never lose your parents, they are always with you. And to see them suffer just breaks your heart. Know that your Father is in a better place, his is in your heart forever. God rest his soul and God bless you and your family.

Kat Scratch said...

i feel gratitude every single day that i was able to have a good relationship with my mom before she passed on. and i'll be equally devastated when my dad passes. i wish everyone had that. at least you admit shit and own your shit. that alone is impressive in my book.

Anonymous said...

I respect and admire your raw honesty. - Felicia

Indianacat said...

Mr. Sutter;

My sincere condolences to you about the passing of your father. We all deal with the loss of family in different ways. Just because you're not weepin', wailin', and gnashin' your teeth and/or rendin' your garments over your father's death doesn't make you a cold hearted, uncaring SOB.

The fact that you posted about your father's death and your feelings about it says much. Despite your differences, there was respect for the man he was. Perhaps, deep down, there was also love, it was just hidden behind other things. I'm not tryin' to psychoanalyze it, just statin' what I know from a similiar experience, except its with my birth mother. I grok your circumstances.

You are mourning this loss, else you wouldn't have shared your thoughts and feelings about it with us. You could've kept it to yourself, and who would've known other than your wife and your friends?

We all have our ideal teevee parent. My dad's a lot like Atticus Finch. Quiet, stable, does what has to be done without fanfare because it's right. I'm close to him and will probably be a basket case when he goes Home.

Mothers and daughters have their issues, too. Such is the case between me and my birth mother. We might as well be thousands of miles apart, as it's going on four years since we've spoken. Unfortunately, it HAS to be that way. I love her, but can't have her in my life due to the poisonous nature of the relationship. I've mourned the loss of what she was to me for years. When she goes Home, the only feelin' I can imagine havin' now is relief that her sufferin' is over. Guess time will tell.

Godspeed Mr. Sutter.

Tonya said...

I had a funeral of sorts for my father who is still alive. The loss of his presence wasn't painful because he was never a present man. Kind of a siphoned, drone of a man who enjoyed the exploits of women and the vacancy of his children. Not a true man, nor a father. Nothing to love, really...however I did try for years to find some sort of love for him...the kind I saw from other father/daughter relationships. But it wasn't there. Never would be. The emotional loss has long been endured ...years passed.... and the physical loss a mere memory of what could have been. You're family is where you are now. The smiles of you're children a reflection of a true father. The definition of what a man truly is.

Much love and inspiration to you, Kurt. Words cannot thank you enough for sharing this part of you're life with us all. It is deeply respected and appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Kirt- I had a great relationship with my mother but felt like sometime when I was a kid she was not there for me. She always seemed to be there for my three older brothers and I was the only girl and the youngest. when I got older I asked her why sometimes when I was a kid did it feel like she was not there for me. her response was I was to heard headded and strong willed that I had to make sure I did everything on my own. she said that she was always there in the distance but I would not let her in my life because I was going to make it no matter what it took. and later in life I thought about it and she was correct... I was going to do it I was going to make sure I was going to make things right. I alway felt a big whole in my heart for that because I did not think she thought I needed her But I did. she always told everyone else she was proud of me and that I have made it but did not show me she was proud.... but I know she was, I just wanted to hear it from her... I was the only girl and the younges, so I thought I should be taken care of from my mother and brothers but I was stuburn and wanted to show them I did not need anyone but myself that way I would have no one to blame but me..... so maybe you father was the same maybe he was proud of you as you grew up but you did not let him in to tell you..... thank god I finaly let my mother in and we were best freinds and had a great relationship when she passed. and GOD I miss the hell out of her... and by the way jemma's carator is my mother all over again.. I can not see one seen with her in it that I dont think of her... she was a fighter and strong as is Jemma.... thanks for keeping strong women strong and not making them week....

Karen said...

Honest, direct and written with a great understanding of yourself and your father. You have honored your father. Learning from him and using those lessons good/bad or indif and passing on... Don't be sad, celebrate... celebrate yours and his life...

Kim Fall said...

I was sorry to hear about your loss, even though it currently may not feel that way. I lost my mother in January. We were at loggerheads almost my entire life. The last five years I had to spend time with her doing cleaning, laundry and other things she no longer could handle as she was ill. In those five years at some point she stopped treating me like the daughter she argued with incessantly and began speaking to me as a friend. I learned so much about her I never knew, and it gave me insight into who she was and why. I am sorry you won't get the same chance to see if your relationship could have been different. I miss my mother every day now- something if you would have asked me about when I was 18, 28, or 35 I would have told you- "not likely".

ken yoakum said...

My dad died a few years ago . Mom was all fucked up without him . Both 87 at time of death . Mom died Jan first this year .
She had alzhimers
I honestly was glad it was over .
Don't get me wrong , I loved my mom . But it was time for her to move on .
I miss them. Both but not one bit sad

Dave Yeoward said...

Thank you for all of us out there who lost our parents far before they ever died, and putting into such eloquent words that we the children do morn! Our morning last so much longer than a wake and a funeral, like your wife said " we don't mourn who they were as much as who we wish they were" . I felt this big sense of relief when I read that and your piece. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Also for taking the responsibility to the future generations by doing the hard work and being a REAL MAN not just a badass, Glad there's people like yourself leading by example and effecting so many by your art!! My Condolences

Urno Talbot said...

I can empathize with all you say, your old man sounded like my mom and your mom like my dad. Growing up isnt done at 21 but a life process, sometimes it takes a lon g time to realize and accept we are more like our parents than we can admit. Jersey is one hell of a place to grow up, me in Newark, you in Union county, what characters we've known!

Unknown said...

Dear Kurt,

Your forthright words resonate and I empathize. You have taken the trials of your journey and chosen to channel all those toxic negative emotions into creative inspiration and self-awareness.

We cry for your loss and revel in your triumphant personal evolution.

Thank you for sharing with us!

E. Sanchez said...


I lost my dad 19 years ago today.

I was a senior in college at the time and had just started to get along with my dad, largely because I came to realize that I was a lot like him. Despite the irony of losing him just as we had started to (re)build a relationship, the way he lived his life stayed with me long after he was gone. Similar to your own experience, I learned from my dad what NOT to do and how NOT to be. His life was one filled with addiction, disappointments and untapped potential. As a 40 year old guy with his own family and career, I can understand the pressures he must have felt and why life seemed to have knocked him down so much. I loved my dad, but his biggest contribution to my growth was showing me who I didn't want to be. I've never thought of a better way to honor him and his name than to live my life to the fullest, honestly, generously and without fear.

Thanks for helping me remember him today.

Chad said...


I'm 37 and in recovery and coming to terms with the wreckage of my own parents' life. My wife and I have each discussed how, like Katey said, we mourn not the people, but the hopes of what we wanted them to be. And ultimately, we mourn also how we were oftentimes left unparented ourselves.

Thanks for having amazing courage in this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us.
1000 positive thoughts to you and your family.

WyzWmn© said...

That lady you married is one smart cookie!


CarlosFandango said...

Hi Kurt, I had to re-read what you'd written a couple of times. So many miles apart but so similar in experience...
My mother died a couple of weeks ago and don't get me wrong, I'm sad about it but like yours and Al's our relationship wasn't all it could have been. She didn't bring me up and has played a very small part in my life. She led a life that most people have to watch tv to see, prison, drink, gangsters, prostitution, I could go on but you get the picture. For her it was all real. She'd give Gemma a run for her money for sure. It's okay though, I get the reasons why she couldn't be around now, finally. The personal psychological fallout is another matter. it fucked me up for a long time BUT it also made me who I am today and that's a dedicated, loving father. My daughter thinks I'm crazy I make her laugh so much but the fact is that she's growing up knowing she's loved and supported in everything she does.
"We don't mourn who they were as much as who we wish they were" Thank Katy from me for those words, you summed up what I've been trying to say to myself since my mother died.
Respects Kurt.

michele said...

My birth father walked out on me and my mom and two brothrs when I was three. He gave up his parental rights when I was five so that my step-dad could adopt us and my birth father never looked back. My step father began to sexullay molest me when I was eight and as he lay dying of lung cancer six years ago I forgave him for what he did to me. Forgiveness was the only way I could carry on with my life and begin my life at the age of 43! I didn't realize until his death that the reason I drank, I did drugs and I slept with so many men was because of these two events in my life. Both of my fathers let me down. My childhood was robbed from me but I gained control of my adulthood through therapy and great friends. My hats off to you Mr. Sutter for your honest words about your feelings toward the death of you father. We all mourn in our own ways.

PatD64 said...

Kurt,I hope you and your father can find peace together after you leave this physical world.

I'm Amazed and humbled by your honesty with yourself and with us.
Thank You

Anonymous said...

For you and your father at this time:

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face.May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.

Anonymous said...

I do understand what u are saying about your father... my father was the same way... we haven't spoke in yrs... yes I love him but, if he was to die... I wouldn't go to his funeral... he left my mother and I when I was just a baby...
I searched for him and found him when I was 40 yrs old... we had a good relationship for about 3 yrs then it went south once again... he divorced once again. I still stay in contact with my step mother which I love very much so.
Sad to say more so than my Natural mother.
Anyway after he remarried his wife know says that he has no children but, hers so yes... I totally understand...he could never understand my life style, respect my type of music, bikes, tats, piercings ect... so I applaud you and praise u for trying to be the best father u can with your children. live life to the fullest. life is to short, as i am finding out. discipline with love but, always be open and laugh and teach with the up most respect.

Unknown said...

Reading was like I could have written it myself. Only my dad is still alive, and in those morbid moments when I wonder what it will be like when he passes, these are the kinds of words that pass through my mind.
My thoughts are with you Kurt, and my hope that this peace lasts and evolves, and continues to strengthen the man you've become.

Anonymous said...

Katey's "take" was more than interesting. It was completely on the money. I know few people will get down to comment #86, but I had to add my condolences and a few thoughts as another kid, long grown-up who still wonders just how much worse his bad relationship with his dad would have become if the guy hadn't died when I was 14. We love and grieve for the people/parents we wish they had been.

I'll pull afew lyrics from 'The Replacements' here:

"The ones that love us best, are the ones we lay to rest, and visit their graves on holidays at best.

..the ones who love us least, are the one's we'd die to please. If its any consolation, I can't being to understand them."

My condolences to you.
Stay Strong.

suzankar45 said...

Condolences,Kurt. Obviously your experience has made you a better person,your kids will benefit greatly from this.

Gina said...

I'm sorry for your loss - not just in his death, but in his life. I think many of us can relate. Katey is wise - we DO in fact mourn who we wish they were.

Pointman said...

Thank you for sharing the most raw emotion of grief and loss.
I believe what you wrote about your dad should be in every publication on this subject everywhere.
Your insight is as always, like a laser cutting through to the raw nerve.
My father never approved of my riding Harleys- he just had something against the lifestyle -I thought. (Turns out he crashed one as a kid through a barn wall with his brother sitting on the handlebars. After that he thought they were dangerous- even though he rode an Indian)
On his deathbed we said our goodbyes and I held his hand as his pulse faded forever.
That night I drove back to Seattle and went to work the next day without mentioning his passing- that's how he taught me about separating work and home.
I believe he lives on through me from all the subtleties I picked up from him as I was growing up.
We are all the prisoners of our genetics and ancestry- and I choose to embrace mine, good or bad.
You'll be okay, Kurt.
Strength to you and your family.

Oh No! Whaaat??? said...

I just wanted to let you know that it was good to read someone else's acceptance of their past and loving who they have become. Workin' thru some of that myself right now and it's fucking hard work. I wish the steps could get that deep, but I know for a fact now that the past 12 years of my recovery has prepared me for the tasks at hand. Grieving a parent when they're still on the planet doesn't make sense to everyone, but I get it brother. I totally get it. Big squeeze and much love to you in your ongoin' process.

WI_Debi said...

I just saw this as I am sitting vigil in the hospital over my children's father.

Katey's words ring very true. I'm sorry for your loss both then and now. Blessed Be.

InsomniaMama said...

Thank you for making me realize Im not one of the most fucked up people in the world for feeling the same about my father. He hasnt passed yet, but, I really doubt hes going to hang on for the next 10 years. I mourned him years ago. Its not so much that hes "already dead in my eyes", its just that Ive come to terms with the fact that he will forever be an absentee parent who wants nothing more than to ride the coat tails of everything Ive busted my ass for in this life so he can look like the doting father. Why give him the satisfaction of sharing anything with him that Ive taken so much joy in accomplishing?

You have no idea how highly I think of you to still be able to place a good thought in your mind and heart for him. I doubt Ill ever be able to to the same for mine

Thank you for letting me see theres others like me out there!


Dean Hughes said...


I don't know anyone else that can write as eloquently as you, I wish I had half of your ability to manipulate words into such a powerful format. That truly brought tears to my eyes, I guess there are a lot of us out there who share that feeling of detachment from our Fathers.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kurt - so sorry to hear about your dad. I just wanted to let you know that I visited with him last month and he only had nice things to say about you and was very proud of your success. He also told me that he wished he could spend more time with you and your sisters. I live around the corner from him (on Ivy St.) Your father was my grandfather's (Frank Sutter) brother. Please don't post the comment, I just wanted you to know. ~Kim Domanowski (

Anonymous said...

How could you write such a thing several hours after the passing of your Dad? Keep this private. How about the feelings of your sisters? Or is it all about KURT? Poor Kurt! He lives in his mansion with his millions and blames his Dad for his violent druggy past. You sound like the typical sniviling loonie liberal. Liberalism is truly a mental illness. Man up and realize that you have a responsibility also. Your Dad was a war hero. He helped clean up body parts on the deck of his ship after an attack. Once again man up and stop being such a wimp!! RENALDUS MAGNUS

Anonymous said...

I hope you have the courage to pring the statement by RENALDUS MAGNUS. I see you are open to diverging views but liberals are such hypocrites and closed minded that I felt you might reject the piece. renaldus magnus

Anonymous said...

Kurt do you think it wise to let such personal information out for the world to see? Don't you take some of the blame for your relationship with your father? You speak of addictions and violence. HOw was that your his fault? He was from the "great generation", they handle things differently. Maybe they should have been more understading but that was not in the nature of a depression raised person. What you wrote is not for the internet but rather for your shrink. Your successful enterprises are all about violence, and by the way well done, but is "he" to blame for your demons? How about his demons and what he witnessed in WW2, he did not have the luxury or the mindset to seek help, if he needed it. I am sure that he kept much inside him. Do a screenplay about him, his war years and the affects it had on him and his relationships with his family.l concerned

Boudica's Child said...

Kurt, Thank you for sharing this with us. You are not the only one who has felt this way about the passing of a parent they had let go of long ago. It can be hard to not feel the way you or others think you should. It sounds like you have a good understanding of why to handle it. I lost my Dad two years ago. If he had died 10years ago I would feel the way you do, but something happened with him long after I had let go and suddenly he was the Dad I needed. I was blessed to have that. It sounds like any chance of that for you was long past. You are really blessed in your life with a good career and a great woman by your side. You've processed your past so you can be a good father in the present. That's what counts regardless of how you feel about loosing your father.
All the best.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I believe you're not sad. But you've told the truth about your relationship in a rare way. Most of us can't articulate what you just have, we especially couldn't on the night of the death of a parent.
You have a rare gift; thank you for sharing it.
I'm sorry for your loss.

Marjorie said...

How wonderful that your true gift of words enabled you to write this profound and moving eulogy. It moved me far more than I can say here. But, you do honor your father by being the man, husband and dad that you are. Talk about keeping it real, you own that Mr. Sutter.

Electronic Sole said...

Mr. Sutter,

I respect my Dad; he respects me, we're both flawed and I think we can both see those flaws. In that sense I identify with your most recent post. I d my best to incorporate both what my Dad has taught me and filling in the areas of life where he didn't do as much as he probably should have. You appear to be doing the same. You'll grieve in your own way, I am sorry for your loss.

Jack Wier
Anachronists - NW

therealzenobia said...

Condolences. It's hard, no matter the circumstances - an empty absence is curious in and of itself.

p.s. Love, love, LOVE Cosmo!

Craider said...

A very soulful post Kurt. Even if the relationship was stressed, it still shows that you had at least grudging respect for the man and have grown to understand your differences.

My condolences to you and your family

lici2 said...

Hiya Kurt, I read your blogs and appeciate your views and opinions, I appreciate more though how honest you are! Sorry that your Dads gone. I agree with Katey, I think that the ideal of a parent through a childs eyes is an expression of expectation, often one that contridicts itself endlessly. I think that for children that dont have great relationships with their parents, a physical stature can be - at times - easy to replace, but your expectation of that person that was never realised is swallowed whole and nobody really knows what its like to lose your own ideal. People will always say nice things about a person passed and I dont think you're anyone horrid or callous for being honest about the fact that your life will go on without incident. Your ideals however - I imagine that they will be realised through Clay or Opie or some character that you will create! Csnt wait to hear more!

Cali said...

Thank you for this. How you are feeling is much the same as how I felt when my grandmother died. I had been watching her fail for ten years by then, and it just kept getting worse and worse, and even worse so that when the end came it was almost a relief. Yet there was definite loss, too. She had been the buffer between me and my mother, the coldest bitch on earth that you'd never want to meet. She gave me 24 hours after the funeral to take whatever of my grandmother's things I wanted before her crew came in and hauled it all away. I might have chosen better if I'd known it would be my last chance, or if I'd actually had my head together. Not that things are what it's all about.'

Growing up I didn't know the meaning of the word respect because I never received any. I loved to write and was published the first time when I was only nine. (I wish I could have kept a diary, but they would have read it and used it against me.) My grandmother saved all that stuff, but I forgot to look for it. I suppose it's all at the bottom of a landfill now. My mother certainly wouldn't have saved any of it.

My mother, for the most part, wasn't around when I was growing up, and when she was it was all about picking on me about all the things she didn't like-- my weight, my skin, the fact that my body was "ruined" because I had stretch marks, how lazy I was, my greasy hair that I never did anything cute with, etc. I can't think of a single thing that I ever did well enough. My 3.0 GPA wasn't good enough, then my 3.6 wasn't good enough, either. It didn't matter. Nothing was ever good enough.

Guess what? It still isn't. And it never will be. She could choose to have a friendship with me instead, but she'd rather have an adversarial relationship. I can't change that, heaven knows that I've tried. I wish it could be different, but she won't allow it. And now Mother's Day is upon me, ugh.

However, I learned something important from her. Because I felt unloved as a child, not a single day of my son's life has passed when he wasn't told that I love him. He grew up feeling loved and respected. He's now 25 and says he never felt unloved, never felt disrespected, and actually felt down-right cherished. His complaint is that even though we talked every day that I didn't pay enough attention to what he said. I gotta say, I tried, but the kid talked absolutely nonstop! If he'd only said 10,000 words a day instead of the 100,000+ he actually said, it would have been a lot easier to pay attention to all of those words. He actually made my ears physically tired! He still can. But I wouldn't have it any other way. He's my protector, my best friend and the one and only true love of my life. I hope he can have as good a relationship with his children as he and I have, and from what I've seen of him with babies and young children, he will. I hope every generation of our family continues to just get better and better at this child rearing thing, as it sounds like your family is doing.

Condolences on your father, but congratulations on your children.

Amy Kirby said...

My condolences to you. I personally like Katey's take on parents and feel the same about mine. Haven't seen them in years; made peace with my mom last year. My step-dad and I are too broke to fix. I care but from a distance and prefer it that way. I believe that we have to give ourselves permission to allow those feelings before we can accept them. My family will never be what I wish it was. So, we take that and hope we don't screw up our own kids. Take care, Kurt.

Denise Shelton said...

After my parents died, I found myself mourning not who I knew them to be, or wanted them to be, but rather the aspects of who they were that I never got to see. I found out that my dad, who was always anti-popular culture-- resisting any efforts on the part of his five daughters to indulge in the current fads--had taken his kid sister to see Frank Sinatra during WWII. He was a captain in the army at the time, and his escorting her, a rabid bobbysoxer, to the concert in uniform--the envy of all her friends--was one of the highlights of her life. At my mom's funeral, one of the girls who had been in her English class when she taught high school before getting married, told me she never would have become a writer if it hadn't been for my mother's encouragement. I'm sure if your dad had had the benefit of the kind of open expression that our generation enjoys, you might have had better insight into who he was and what joy he found in life. There's so much we fail to see when looking in from the outside. He may have felt and known much more than you can imagine. In any case, he gave you life and the start in life that was solid enough that you were able to rebuild yourself when you had to. (Besides, I'm sure the Brady boys had wished Mike had been more of a badass.) He will always be a part of you.

lici2 said...

PS Its freakin' me out how much Kim (Tig) looks like your Dad?

Anonymous said...

Kinda in the same boat here.
Never met my dad.
Mom wouldn't even tell me his real name.
When I found out who he was, he was already gone.
Doesn't mean there isn't a hole where he should'a been.
Hope your is filled with something good.

Anonymous said...

You are in my thoughts Kurt. You are an amazing writer and have created a great product with SoA. This post hits very close to home with me, as I, much like you felt I was an embarrassment to my father. I have not spoken to him in several years, he has only met his only grandchild twice in 5 years and yet daily I feel guilty for not picking up the phone and apologizing for speaking my mind.....Rest in peace Al, your son is an amazing man.

Abbey's Road said...

Dear Kurt, I completely empathize with your relationship (lack of...) with your dad. My biological mother and father "gave" me and my sister to my aunt and uncle. I never saw him again, but my bio-mom was my step-dad's sister, and though I've tried to forgive her, I just can't because she has perpetuated the lie that we were "STOLEN" from her. It took a lot to just walk away, her living minutes away from me, but I have a mother and father who raised me and loved me more than their own lives.

Shit happens, you deal or you don't. Your moving beyond the hurt and recognizing your father for the reality of who he was is probably the best and most adult decision you ever made.

I am, however, very sorry for your loss. That loss began many years ago, as it also did for me. What will I do when she dies? Will I go to her funeral? Probably. It will be the only thing to bring me closure on a lifetime of hurt, not to mention the hurt of her not allowing my brother to go with me and my sister. He was murdered in 1985, thus deepening the wound that was already there. She denied me my relationship with my only brother. Had he been allowed to go with us, he probably would still be alive and a productive human being.

I've tried writing about my life and it's deep hurts that go so far beyond just my own personal loss. I just don't know where to begin. It's so twisted and coiled and will probably confound me until the day I die.

Warmest and blessings to you and the Mrs. My husband and I are SO WILD about SOA! It's the best show to hit the airwaves in many a year.


comicsniper said...

Mr. Sutter,
Your honesty is somewhat frightening. Even though all of us have conflicting feelings about those we love, it takes balls to put those feelings into words, let alone words that thousands of anonymous people can read. You are a braver man than I ever could be. I won't insult your sobriety by offering to buy you a drink on the off chance we meet, but if I ever do meet you, I will gladly shake your hand. Thanks for giving me something to think about...

Unknown said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father. I don't think you should trouble yourself if your father had a happy life. He lived his life with his choices.

Don't post this:
I represent a production company from Israel. We want Mr. Charlie Hunnam to do a leading dubbing role in our international production of the animation feature:"The embryo who came in from the cold". Check our site: We have the budget for the voice recording and Mr. Hunnam's salary. The recording will take only a few days or less. We need an answer by June. But, apparently the script and our request are stuck in CAA agency, last time I checked, it was in the mail room with a promise that they'll call us back. So if something can get things moving, I'll appreciate it tremendously. Thanks. Ganit.

GT Black said...

Thanks to you and Katey for these incredible insights, Kurt. I've experienced similar losses and similar ambiguity. It's so true that many people do their mourning not following a physical death, but in the preceding years. When it becomes clear that a person is not who they used to be, who you thought they were or who they'd always tried to convince you they were, often through their own wishful thinking.

Condolences, and apologies for late post - I'm a very recent SOA convert!

lici2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexa said...

Kurt, thank you for this. I was just nosing around online and came upon your post. I mourn with you the loss of your father as he was and as you wish he had been ... My own father is still, surprisingly, alive, more than 8 years since my mother died; he's but a shell of his former self. I have three siblings; I'm sure our feelings will be close to yours after our father dies. I miss who he was, even as he still lives ... and as for grief after he's gone, I don't honestly think there'll be much. I grieved for years, decades ... and I love him, with that helpless, instinctive (?), sometimes maddening bond that entangles us with our immediate blood relatives ...

Angela said...

I offer my condolence.

To me, the only thing sadder than a father/son disconnect you described is what I'm watching now as an adult child and sister - a brother who as a child was given the world and everything in it by a Ward Cleaver kind of dad just to have the promise child turn into an asshole adult who completely severed the relationship because of his own fucking delusion of what his life should have been.

How sad to sit by every holiday and watch my Ward Cleaver dad wait for a phone call that doesn't come.

Kind reminds me of the Law and Order episode where Jack McCoy asks "wonder what it's like to find out you raised a son of a bitch?"

IRGENIUS said...

I want to tell you that what you are doing with your son, it is the BEST way you can honor your father. The reason I say that is because I am doing it with my teenage daughter. When I was a kid/teenager I was not small, in fact I was very large. All I ever heard from my mother was, I was to fat to fit through a door. Or I didnt need to eat that. She never came to anything I did at school.

After my daughter was born, I wanted to make sure we were "best of friends" now there are times I have to be the mom, but she knows there is nothing she can not talk to me about. I go to everything she does, and yes I make her laugh. Her friends tell her I am the cool mom.

I have a better relationship now with my mom, because she has forgiving me for things and I her.

I tell people that I learned how to be a mom by my mom. I tell her that she taught me all I know about being a mom. What I do not tell her is I am doing everything that she did not do and what she did do I do not do. So by her being the way she was it taught me WHAT NOT TO BE...

I just want to tell you, you are doing great. Loving your son and being there for him. Your dad taught you that just like my mom.

Anonymous said...

I am 22 years clean and sober. My Dad died 3 years ago and, like you, I have mourned for what might have been. I had to let him go when he was alive. I 'honored' him and my mother by visiting when I could (I also live thousands of miles away) and being as supportive as I could be, financially and emotionally. But I couldn't save him from himself or his past - nor can I save my mother. I can only save myself by taking responsibility for my happiness and my recovery. My son is 17 - I talk and listen to him in ways that I never experienced with my parents. He has friends, is physically & emotionally healthy and is pursuing creative goals that he has chosen. I don't have to pass on the disfunction and dis-ease. I wish you all the very best.

joe one-leg said...

guess us st john alum share more than we thought
my condolences for your loss

jordan said...

i too lost my mother before i lost my mother. no one ever talks about how it's possible - and ok! - to grieve more while the person still exists than after they're really gone. or how it's possible for death to come as an unexpected relief. thank you.

while i don't yet have a family of my own, i hope that i can, like you, be the one to learn from her mistakes and create a bigger, better life for myself and my children-to-be.

i'm sorry for your loss, but really, congratulations on what you've become.

Anonymous said...

hey kurt.sorry to hear your father passed on.i lost my mother first,then my father five months your story,i never measured up to his expectations of me,being his only son,and wild in my youth,motorcycles,drinking etc.i got married eventually,and settled down,although theres still a harley in my dad got on better with my kids,than he did with me.although he was a hard man when i was growing up,we made a sort of peace before he the thing.he told my sister that he was sorry how our relationship turned out,but he never said it to me,before he died.guess i will always wonder about that.long life and happiness to you and yours kurt,and i truly love soa.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad.

Your Dad was fucking cool.

He had that distinct nasal voice of a boxer and he always seemed genuinely glad to see me whenever we would meet.

My folks and yours were long-time friends, probably from back in Elizabeth, but certainly from when our sisters were in school.

The last time I saw your Dad, I had dropped in unexpectedly on my folks and it seemed that your Dad had done the same thing, just a few moments before.
He jumped up from his seat and said "You visit with your parents. I talk to them all the time. They never get to see you."
He made me feel like a shithead because I lived about ten houses away...and he was right!

I didn't know you when we were young. A few years age difference was a big deal way back then, but I did know your Dad.
I thought he was very fuckin' cool, and I'm a little sad for his passing.

All the best to you,

ed Harrison.

Anonymous said...

I had really cool parent's. We were/are very lucky. They were there for my brother's and I when we wanted them, and didn't bother us much if we didn't. Times were different in the 60's & 70's and life was good. The 'rents' are gone now, both died too soon, and I miss them every day. One of the things I learned from them, and it sounds like you got "it" too, (by not having it with your own folks) is to be honest and up front with your kids. Let them know who you are as a person (as best you can - holding back some of the more bizarre escapades, etc.) and who you are as a father will be absorbed. It's cool the way that honesty thang works. Keep 'em laughing, and they surprisingly hang around. At least they can't leave for the Coast to get their heads together. (They're already here).


Eugene said...

sorry to hear about your loss Kurt what i know is your father would be proud of the man you have become one day at a time your writing is awesome you have a great heart for your son as i see it you are a man of honor and dignity it dose not get much better than that be well find peace and live a sober life one day at a time
thank you for a great show you do a great job in being real about your subject matter again thank you and be well
your friend Eugene

Bevboy said...

Just found your blog. Sorry for the EMMY snub.

I lost my own father on May 3rd and had the duty of presenting his eulogy at his funeral. Hardest writing and presenting I've done in my life, but I wanted to do right by my pop.

I wasn't broken up over his death, either. His last year was noted by pain, loss of dignity, anger, fear, for him and for us. His death was quiet and dignified, if that's possible. I miss him like crazy, but I don't miss how sick he was toward the end and am relieved that his pain is gone. I want to think about the good times, and not how he was toward the end.

Thank you for writing this. I wrote about it on my own blog, but mentioning it here helps me work through these complicated emotions as well.

My very best to you from me and my fiancee in Nova Scotia.

Bev "Bevboy" Keddy

Leila said...

Hi Kurt. I just found your blogg while doing my semi-regular trolling of SOA. I lost my father about 3 weeks ago and like you, I wish we had been closer, though I know it was not possible.

You said "I loved Al as best I could. Al loved me as best he could."

I know this to be true of my father and I as well. I believe that to be the most important certainty to keep in mind. Yes we were very different, yes the older I got the farther apart we drifted. I do know I held a place in his heart that no one else could take and that went both ways. For better or for worse, at times. Never the less, we meant something special to each other and I'm sure on some level it was the same for you and your dad.

They don't need our tears now, any more than they did when they were alive. I do like the idea of honoring those who have past by doing the most we can with our lives and making sure we stay connected with those whom we love. In other words, just do the best we can. It's all anyone can do.

Peace, Leila Lind

Sid Patrick said...

Thank you so much for sharing so openly & honestly. I am in the process of mourning, although my Dad is still alive. Your experience spoke directly to me, like you have read my mail; very bizarre. The only difference is my Dad was never very charismatic, except when he was drunk; but he usually overshot the mark & was mostly sloppy. Like you, I took on my Mom's personality - stay at home & hate &/or judge everyone. I also mourn the opportunity to parent a child of my own... maybe in another liftime...