Reflection On Father’s Day: The Passing of Theodore T. Kane

Our Dear Readers:  

    This is the text of the eulogy that Dr. Kane delivered for his father, Theodore T. Kane, who passed away last Friday. As we celebrate our fathers and what they do and have done for us, Dr. Kane wanted to share his reflection on the man who did so much to shape his life. We honor Dr. Kane’s generosity in sharing this experience during this tough time. Thank you.  

— The Staff At Loving Me More

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Friday June 26, 2015

Greetings to our family, friends, comrades, and peers of Sergeant Theodore T. Kane.

My brother, former Associate Director of the California Department of Corrections Anthony Peter Kane and I, Dr. Micheal Kane, Clinical Traumatologist and Forensic Psychologist, welcome you to share in the homegoing services of our father.  He has gone up yonder to continue the partnership he established for 61 years with our mother, Mary Kane.

Although many of you may find it strange that I would include our professional titles, we are following our father’s lead.  Every time our father introduced us to anyone, regardless of whether we’d met them before, he would say, “these are my sons, Tony, who’s a warden, and Micheal, who’s a doctor.”  Of course, this usually embarrassed us, and we would ask him repeatedly to just introduce us as Tony & Micheal, understanding that Tony was retired and I was hiding out from my patients.  Our father would say okay, okay, and then do exactly the same thing over and over.

Our father was proud of his sons and he wanted everyone to know it.  Although there were times I felt I was a show horse, prancing around, I could understand why he did so.

We were a reflection of him.  Our success was truly his success.  Without him and his sacrifices, there wouldn’t have been a Tony Kane, Associate Director of the California Department of Corrections, or a Dr. Micheal Kane Clinical Traumatologist & Forensic Psychologist.

Our father and mother truly had class!  When our mother passed away several years ago, she did so on Valentines Day, ensuring that she will always be remembered.

I guess our father decided he was not to be outdone by our mother as he joined her five days prior to Father’s Day.  In doing so, he ensured that he too would have his own special day in which he would be remembered.

Knowing how direct our father was, it is clearly apparent that he wanted acknowledgement on that day.   So as we give a warm and loving sendoff to “up yonder”, I will also utilize this time to honor him and the men of his generation and share with you what he meant to us as a father and what they meant to us as men.

We honor these men for their commitment to their children as well as the roles and responsibilities that they took on during the difficult times they lived in. These are the men who grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and lived through the difficult times of racial discrimination and domestic terrorism and great humility, and who without question protected and defended this country while serving in a segregated military during and after WWII.

This was also the generation that integrated the armed forces in the 1950’s and went on to defend this country during the Korean and Vietnam wars.  As they fought for liberty, democracy and freedom for others around the globe, they knew that they and their families would be denied the enjoyment of those same ideals in their home country.

Those men who served in France during WWII had earned the name of “Men of Iron.”  During WWII, the African-American soldiers, due to segregation were not allowed to fight in American military units.  Instead, they were welcomed to fight alongside French soldiers, fighting under the French flag.  Because these men fought with distinction and courage, their French comrades, with gratitude, designated these black soldiers with the title of “Men of Steel.”

Following their return home, these Black American troops endured domestic terrorism, burnings of their homes, businesses and churches and the loss of many lives.  Those of us who are members of the post WWII “baby boom generation” are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices. It is with that in mind that we, as their descendants, show our gratitude and honor these men.

Our father came from this generation, a generation that understood the meaning of duty, honor and service. It was his commitment to duty that placed him in harm’s way.  Our father served during the Korean War and did two tours in Vietnam.

Although they were nicknamed the “Men of Iron”, in reality, their blood flowed red.  These were simply good men who sought a better life and better education for their children.

Our father and many men like him did what they could to insulate their loved ones from the ills of the world so that we could be children and just do what children do.  Although we spent our developmental years growing up during segregation, our father did what he could to give my brothers and I a normal life.  During his military service we went abroad, living in countries such as France and Germany.

Our father and other fathers of his generation were giants in our eyes.  He was always looking sharp in his carefully laid out uniform, laden with military decorations.  Whenever he gave or returned a military salute, it was done with precision, pride, and self-respect.  We were always proud of him and wanted him to be proud of us.

Our father was proud of his “Kane Boys.” We went on to became successful in our adult lives, serving in roles as non commissioned officer in the armed forces, a doctor of clinical psychology and lastly the associate director of a state corrections department.  None of his sons got into trouble with the law.  No, we were not angels and yes we were mischievous, but as an elderly Southern woman would say to my father, “your boys were raised right.”

It was with great sadness that his eldest son died ten years ago, succumbing to his wounds received while serving in combat during the Vietnam War. For the first time, we saw our father devastated by the responsibility of burying his son.

Tony and I made a covenant that we would spare our parents the grief of burying any more of their children.  Instead we would do what children must do in life, which is to escort their parents to their final resting spot. And as you can see, we are here we today, keeping that covenant.

The only time we can recall seeing disappointment on our father’s face was when the military failed to follow through on their commitment to promote him to the next grade.  This was a promotion that he had worked hard to obtain.  As one would expect, our father rebounded, retired from military service and went on to continue working in public service by become a federal police officer, a position which he held for 20 years.

The nickname “Men of Steel” suited my father and his peers very well.  They were truly brothers.  They came together not just to party and socialize; they were there for each other during dark and difficult times.  However they never, ever shared a word with the children regarding the racism and discrimination they themselves were struggling with.

As Men of Iron, they kept their feelings within themselves.  It was not until I wrote a book on complex trauma that I discovered what my father and the men of his generation had endured so that the children of the baby boom generation could have and enjoy the life that they themselves did not or could not have.

It was only during this time that I realized that these men suffered from internalized depression and anxiety.  It was during this time in which I came to understand the depth of complex trauma, which the men of this generation and f generations to follow were vulnerable to. They suffered from psychological stress and due to cultural beliefs, these men, kept quiet. They suffered in silence.

In my book, Our Blood Flows Red: Trauma and African-American Men in Military Service, I wrote about men who, like my father, responded to the call of duty during a time in which their courage and ability to fight was always questioned due to their race.

Our father never brought the ills of the world home.  At home, he was Daddy.  He was playful at times and he was strict at other times.  He encouraged us in our academics and sports activities.

He had high expectations of his sons.  He believed in tearing up that behind when we earned it.  He was fair in his treatment of others and known as a good man, a good friend to all.  As his sons, we know that he was proud of us as men, and the accomplishments we had achieved both professionally and personally.

He, like the men of his generation, was a good provider.  No doubt these men had problems in their marital relationships, but like the others, he did not believe in divorce, so he and our mother worked out their differences.  As a husband he was an excellent role model.  He taught us that a marriage was a lifelong commitment and he led by example after being married to our mother for 60 years.

He loved our mother dearly. Every time you saw one of them, the other was not far away.  I attributed his example as a key cause of the longevity of my and my brothers’ marriages.  Following the passing of his first wife to which they were married 15 years, Tony met Brandi, and has been married to her for 10 years.  As for myself, prior to the passing of my Linda two years ago, we were married 28 years.

As to the term daughter in law, the word “in law” was not a word used in his vocabulary.  To him all of us were simply his family.  He loved us and we loved him. Daddy was all about touching.  We grow up hugging and kissing and nothing changed when we became grown men. I only wish more grown black men could experience the quality and type of love that we received from our father. We are left with great memories of tight hugs, warm feelings and wet cheeks.

Our father was a good man from the streets of Harlem New York.  From humble beginnings he rose.  He had a good life.  He had a full life. He was truly a Man of Steel and a man of love.

We will miss you Daddy.  Give our regards to Mom, Bev and my Linda.  Keep smiling down on us, as we will be looking upward and smiling up at you.

In closing I have a quote that I would like to share with you.  This quote speaks to the heart of what our father was all about:

“If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly, show it. Life is finite and fragile, and just because something is there one day, it might not be there the next.  Never take love for granted.

Say what you need to say, then say a little more. Say too much.  Show too much. Love too much.

Everything is temporary but love,

Love outlives us all.”

We love you, Daddy.

Your sons,

Anthony Peter Kane, Associate Director of the California Department of Corrections

Dr. Micheal Kane, Clinical Traumatologist & Forensic Evaluator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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