When your father dies

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

I know that it's Father's Day, but instead of another Father's Day post, I thought I'd post a poem that resonates strongly with me about our Fathers.  Not if, but when.  Let me know it if touches your heart, like it touched mine, particularly on this day.



Shifting the Sun

by Diana Der-Hovanessian

When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses. May you inherit
his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn't.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.

"Shifting the Sun" by Diana Der-Hovanessian, from Selected Poems. © Sheep Meadow Press, 1994.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Alan,
The Russians were right.

Jun 16, 2024 07:32 PM
Alan May

There's a phrase you don't here around here much.

Jun 17, 2024 04:31 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

My father is 83 and from a bloodline that the males were lucky to make it to 60.
I know that day is coming sooner than later, and I know every time I visit, every time we talk on the phone, it could be the last.

Jun 16, 2024 07:50 PM
Alan May

It makes each conversation, each visit, each interaction more valuable, doesn't it?

Jun 17, 2024 04:31 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

That realization is a driver for our move.  Puts Liz within 30 minutes of almost her entire immediate family and me just a little over 3 hours from mine.  The engineer/agent/zookeeper live has made it challenging to make the 6 hour drive to my parents, hopefully getting to our new place will also get us some additional help for taking care of the zoo so I can leave more readily to visit my parents.

Jun 17, 2024 06:17 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Alan. My father passes suddenly a little over 54 years ago. And like the thinking of Carol Williams, the Russians were right. Today I still walk in his light. Enjoy your day. 

Jun 17, 2024 04:27 AM
Alan May

My father passed very young, as well.  I can't bring myself to agree with the Russians.  In this case I think the English are right.

Jun 17, 2024 04:33 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing Alan!!! Great Father's day tribute!!!

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.

Jun 17, 2024 04:28 AM
Alan May

I'm unclear if they were talking about American Indians or East Indians, but either way... I like the sound of it.

Jun 17, 2024 04:34 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I don't think I agree with any of those cultural thoughts, and I don't have anything appropriate to suggest. All I know is I miss my dad.

Jun 17, 2024 05:28 AM
Alan May

When my father passed (a euphamism we've developed for "died") it totally felt like the floor had dropped from beneath my feet.  But the English quote of "joining a club that I never wanted to join" seemed to fit me.

Jun 17, 2024 06:01 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Alan- very thought provoking!  My father was an older father and he passed away when I was in my late 30s. I feel some of his influences to this day. I like the quote by Rabindranath Tagore "Let my love like sunlight surround you and yet give you illumined freedom."

Jun 17, 2024 01:02 PM
Alan May

It sounds like you were very fortunate.

Jun 17, 2024 03:25 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jun 22, 2024 06:50 PM
Alan May

Thank you, Kathy.

Jun 23, 2024 04:03 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Alan,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post as I was out of town and missed it. I've never read this poem and it definitely touches my heart. My dad died 46 years ago and I still miss him and think of how he influenced my life. I was at my brothers home for Father's Day as he weathers cancer once again. He's such a good dad, husband, son, brother, Paw....I see him being very reflective and glad I was there to reminisce with him.

Jun 23, 2024 05:36 AM
Alan May

My father has been gone, now, for a surprising 23 years... it still causes a twinge.

Jun 23, 2024 08:25 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

My Father died in 1993 . I remember telling him as a teen , that Iwould never own A Cadillac ( he bought a new one every 2-3 years) or vote for a Republican  ! Well I am 13% English .

Jun 23, 2024 06:11 AM
Alan May

.... well, don't keep us in suspenders.  Did you buy a Cadillac, or vote Republican?

Jun 23, 2024 08:26 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem, Alan. I missed it on Father's Day but glad that Kathy featured it. I think of my Dad every Father's Day - and other times as well - and have for the last 30 years since he has not been with us!


Jun 23, 2024 10:45 AM
Alan May

I'm glad that it touched your heart, as well.

Jun 23, 2024 10:50 AM
Mike McCann Nebraska Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm & Commercial Property For Sale 308-627-3700

Thanks for sharing Alan.  I am glad Kathy shared it with her other posts.  

Jun 23, 2024 11:12 AM
Alan May

you're welcome.

Jun 23, 2024 11:46 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

An interesting post and very full of Armenian knowledge. When dad passed, I lost my reference person and even though I didn't pick his brain in his later years the confidence of being there is now gone,

Jun 23, 2024 04:57 PM
Alan May

There are so many instances, even to this day, when I want to pick up the phone and call my father.

Jun 23, 2024 06:24 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I remember well the day each of my parents died, those were hard days, first supporting my mother through the death of my father and then following my mothers wishes. I just visited home a couple of weeks ago and visited both, a grave and a crematorium, and I still cried because i miss them both.

Jun 24, 2024 01:08 PM
Alan May

It's definitely a hard day when a parent passes.

Jun 25, 2024 03:43 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very nice!  I think this can touch many hearts.  Thank you for sharing. 

Jun 24, 2024 03:19 PM
Alan May

I know it touched mine.

Jun 25, 2024 03:43 AM