My dad passed away a week and a few hours ago.
I’m still processing the loss of his body and my continued connection to his soul.
There’s so much to share about my dad, a remarkable man from humble beginnings who remained intellectually curious until the day he died at 82.
My brother and sister and I touched on different aspects of my father during our eulogies. Here, I share a few of my memories and thoughts from the eulogy I wrote and shared on Monday at his funeral:
Many a Sunday morning, Dad led us in a rousing round of Rise and Shine, while mom made popovers for breakfast.
A mealtime discussion could revolve around a recent scientific discovery, an incurable disease, the plot of a favorite novel (“What happens next, Dad?” “You’ll have to read the book for that.”), a Zen Koan or a recitation of The Highwayman (‘The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor…”).
My dad introduced me to the magic and poetry of words, our shared passion.
Dad was a master of many things:
- expert on art from Japan, China, Korea, India—and a bit of European and American art to boot.
For fun, he read medical journals, hard science, history, art books, poetry. Dad loved to learn and teach. Later in life he combed websites on herbs and alternative healing, and well known experts asked him for information.
Dad felt especially proud of the way he engaged his students in group projects and cooperative learning. And his students adored him. A year or so ago, a former student of his reached out to me on Facebook, still inspired by her seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Tener.
Dad’s varied interests and pursuits ranged from writing at least four musicals, inventing a new poetic form he called traplets, planting fruit trees in our Waterside hillside in New Brunswick, Canada, cooking sushi, creating mystery dinner parties and designing a water wall.
Dad’s genius comes to mind when we first think of him, but I think if you asked him, he’d be proudest of the way he raised his kids. The last two days in his home, I felt that the camaraderie, forgiveness, love, honest communication and understanding among the three of us (my siblings and me) was a testament to the values Dad instilled.
I think if you asked him of his greatest creation and proudest accomplishment, he would not have hesitated to say, “Lisa, Diana and Alan” (Alan insisted I put it in that order!). Thank you, Dad, for the wisdom, passion, guidance and love that shaped our lives and our love for each other.