Erich Gunther

Erich Gunther trophy.jpg

There is a greatness in my dad

that is so magnificent that you have to be at a distance

like with the sun - so you don't get burned. 

It is an intensity born out of the war times

a male born into the second war

in times when loss was common

and compassion was hard to find

in the ocean of despair.


War children carry on the pain

and they want to make it right again

especially men that believe that they are strong and powerful.

But life throws challenges

such as the loss of fingers at the age of 14 - a self inflicted accident

I believe my father never forgave himself for. 


Compensating loss, rising over and over again, 

bearing pain, finding other ways to cope. 

That's my father.

I was born to him on Fathers Day

causing little pain to my mother

who went to church and delivered in the afternoon with ease.

I was a Sunday Father child.

I longed to bring joy to the people

and especially my father. 


In the early years that was easy,

my presence was enough.

From school age on I tried to

bring joy through achievement and hard work,

trying to compensate for the challenging

relationship my father had with his son. 


Workaholism was a dangerous escape.

Soon materialistic objects became the expression of Love.

Success and achievement became more important

than human relations,

family fell apart,

obligatory visits

became painful.


It took me till my 45th year of life to face my father,

through a very traumatic divorce from a man I loved. 

One year of grief counseling, prayer circles, vision quests.

Eventually, I found my buried self and faced my father once more.


As much as I loved my father, I had to leave.

I could not carry his pain...and yet I did.

I left for America at age twenty-one with the promise to return,

and never did.  

After my divorce, I sang the Forgiveness song

for four years.

All I can do is forgive, 

myself for feeling I was never enough, 

my father for not being able to see me, 

my daughters for the pain I passed on to them. 


I call my father on his birthday

and wish him well.

"You know how much pain you have caused me?"

is his response. 

I am 53 years old now.

I listen,

I pray,

for my father

who cannot forgive himself, 

for all men

who cannot rise above their own pain,

for war generations

who carry unresolved grief.


Dear father,

I am sorry,

please forgive me

I love you

and I thank you.


for my LIFE


I see the greatness in you 

that you could not see in yourself.

It is hidden under 81 years of a war

that never ended. 


I pray for PEACE 


let there be peace

let love reign once more

may we be healed



Joe Brodnik