Just found a printout of the Eulogy that I gave for Dad at his funeral.
25.12.1942 – 29.11.2000
17 Tevet 5703 – 2 Kislev 5761
I had come to see him when I heard that his health was regressing. I had the chance to talk with him, but he went to sleep and after several days I had to make the decision to return to my family and work in Israel.
Unfortunately he died while I was flying back – news which I received as soon as I landed. I had enough time to go home and see everyone, drop off my bags and make it back to the same plane back to Canada. I was determined to say something real and close to Dad so that it would not just be canned words from anonymous speakers. Not an easy decision, as I have no experience speaking in front of people and there were lots of people.
I don’t know if anyone understood what I was saying because I sobbed a lot, but I accomplished what I set out to do. Here is the text:
Dad, I wanted to speak because I wanted to make sure that you are remembered. Al and Evie and Shellie talked about you, as you were their brother. Rabbi Hoch will be able to relate how wonderful a person you were and there are many here that have known you for a long time and many in depth. But the impression that you have made on me as a son is indelible and I wanted to share a bit of the color that you have brought to my life.
When I was young, I rememberthat you were always concerned with my safety – climbing too high on the playground when I was seven, climbing on the roof when I was ten, using machinery at work when I was fourteen and getting home at night when I was sixteen. And since then, I know that I have been a constant concern.
One thing that I was finally able to communicate the last time that we talked was that I have always known that you love me and that everything that you have done for me or said to me was out of love. I have always known that. I have never held remorse. I could see that it was difficult for you to express yourself. It was and still is difficult for me to express myself too. I am glad that this issue was dealt with but only regret that we didn’t have another 60 years to build on this understanding.
You closed your eyes for the last time as we all promised that we would take care of each other. So I’ll restate this promise now and I hope that over the course of the week we will find a practical implementation of this commitment. I think that Dad would be happy if we developed and shared our strengths.
I’m still surprised at how much I did not get to know you. I was talking with someone in Tel Aviv two weeks ago that lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I told him that you were in the Michigan Marching Band. I asked him if he knew about it and I even thought that he was being sarcastic when he answered “Of course, everyone knows it, they’re famous”. Then he got very excited and and as he started to explain how the band is the hi-light of the game and was very impressed that you were in it. He was able to convey to me the excitement that you must have felt when you were there on the field and I was glad that I got to hear about that aspect of you.
You apologized, the last time that we spoke, for not giving us a stronger structure to build on. You were referring to the beauty that you found in the Torah, but as I read Pirkei Avot, I find very little that is not inherently obvious due to that which you taught us. And due to this fact, I read them continually and hear them in the words that you taught me. There is nothing that I feel that you lacked as a father except perhaps the ability to demand honor and respect. But you didn’t need to demand it, Dad, because you earned it. And while you did not live long enough to receive this honor and respect, your early exit is typical of the quiet way in which you have always done good deeds. You never did them for the record, rather that there should be more good in the world.
Your goal was to increase the good in the world and you succeeded. I’ll miss the fact that I cannot talk to you but you will always be in my world, Dad, but I still feel a loss. Good-bye Dad. I love you and I miss you.