Posted by Carly at Nov 8, 2012 6:00 am
In the last month, I’ve lost my father, a man I loved dearly, I’ve mourned, grieved, then suffered through Hurricane Sandy, no power for 8 days. It was cold and dark. Tonight it is snowing like crazy and I pray we don’t lose power again. Along the way, I learned a lot about myself (I’m stronger than I thought), I have awesome friends at home and far away, and amazing readers who truly care. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your condolences and caring, and for your patience while I tried to come back to myself. Thank you to Julie, Janelle and Leslie, for holding down the fort while I couldn’t be here. I love you all very much and appreciate all the love you showered me with when I needed it most. I’m still not all the way back. I don’t know if I ever will be. I’m lucky enough to have had a very special father and the loss is enormous. Because I think he should be memorialized for posterity, and because they say once things are on the Internet they are there forever, I’m going to post my eulogy. It’s up to you whether or not you want to read it. I just need for it to be here.
My father was all heart, which is ironic since his heart was the weakest part of him. That heart, which was so big and loving, held on longer than anyone, including his doctors, believed it could – because dad loved life and he loved everyone in it.
Unlike most, dad knew what it was to fight to live from a very young age. From being stabbed 37 times while opening one of his supermarkets, to the heart surgery in his early thirties, dad fought for life. He fought for us. Nobody knows this better than my mother. And everyone in this room and even people who aren’t able to be here know, my father wouldn’t have lived as long as he did if not for my mother. Theirs was a love story to be emulated and admired. They set a standard few will ever reach. I just wish he’d lived to see their fifitieth anniversary this coming June.
Most of you know, my brother and I have been preparing for this day from the time I was thirteen and Ross was nine, when dad had quintuple bypass surgery. From that day on, our lives changed. His most especially. After the surgery, my mother had to change his lifestyle. In a decade before low fat was in vogue and before anyone knew about asking for changes to meals in restaurants, my mother stepped up. If my father needed something to live, then she was going to make sure he got what he needed. As a 13 year old kid, I was mortified. As a 47 year old adult, I am so grateful she took care of him this way because that meant we had him 34 more years. That’s 24 more years than she was promised, not that she told us this, but I think we sensed it anyway.
Still, we had an amazing life thanks to my dad. From vacations in Puerto Rico to a family home in Florida, he made sure we enjoyed every minute of life.
Dad loved to laugh. Often he would begin telling a story, only to have to stop because he couldn’t prevent the tears running down his face as he tried to explain what he found so funny. Often this would be a crazy dream he had, where the retelling was as funny as the dream itself.
Dad was proud of Ross and of me. We always knew it. Dad read my books in manuscript form before they were published and he gave copies of my books to all the doctors and nurses he visited, and there were too many.
Dad loved his business. He treated everyone he met with such dignity and respect, that I grew up knowing what a great man my father was. He loved his childhood friends and he loved the new ones he met in Rockland, then Westchester and Florida. Dad loved his Tuesday/Thursday Gin Rummy games with the men. In everything he did, Dad enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest.
When I was in high school, I’d go out for dinner with them before meeting up with my friends. I was always the unique kid that wanted to be with my parents. And when a teenager wants to do that, her parents must be very special indeed.
Dad loved Phil. Oh, in the beginning he thought he talked with marbles in his mouth (that MA accent) and asked my mother how she could understand a word he said, but eventually they bonded. In fact, they complemented each other in very special and unique ways. Phil learned so much from my dad about love, life and business. And Phil gave my dad the ability to live his life and protect his health by running the business so my father could be in Florida where his health was better.
They truly loved and respected each other and that made me so very lucky – because though Phil worked with dad, he still indulged me my Friday night and Sunday night dinners with my parents. If he minded he was smart enough not to say.
From my dad, I learned how important it is to remain close with your relatives. Dad kept in touch with all of his uncles, aunts and cousins and there are many since my grandpa Henry, his father, was one of five children.
Dad wasn’t a good grandpa, he was an EXCEPTIONAL papa. Dad loved his granddaughters, Jackie, Jen, Jillian and Charlotte. His eyes lit up whenever he spoke about them. Jackie was his first granddaughter and to say he doted on her would be an understatement. He called her â€œmy honeyâ€ and the sun rose and set on her. When Jennifer was born, the fact that he now had two granddaughters gave dad endless joy. She was his”Jen-Jen” as we called her then and sometimes still do. Jen would always end up in her papa’s lap in restaurants, crawling in and nobody knew how she actually got there.
Most of all, Dad loved life. Letting go was the most difficult thing he ever did. He didn’t go willingly anymore than we wanted to let him go. Because as much as dad loved us, we love him. And everyone loved Lenny Weinberg. I say this not because he was my father, but because it’s a fact. There will never be anyone like him and I’m so lucky that he was my dad.