A moving eulogy for a father

Condolences to my dear friend and former editor Scott Edelman on the passing of his father. Writing eulogies is very hard -- I've done it once or twice -- but Scott's eulogy is one of the best, most moving examples of the form I've been lucky enough to see:
Some children miss out on their fathers because they decide to be physically absent, choosing work or hobbies over spending time with their kids. Other parents are emotionally absent, not letting their children see that they even have emotions, hiding who they really are, maybe because they are embarrassed by their feelings, or afraid that real men don't cry, or hug, or kiss their children.

With my father, I wanted for nothing. Dad was always there for me in both body and spirit, showing me by his living example what it was like to be a father and a husband, that it was possible for a man to show tenderness, to be unafraid of open affection with his children, and to be a loving husband. He was selfless with us all.

It is impossible to speak of my father without also speaking of my mother, because they were one. Together, they showed me what true love was like, taught me what a marriage should be. Dad loved us all more than he loved himself. When it became too hard for him to live on, the pain that was the greatest for him was never his own, but rather the pain that he saw in us.

At tragic times like these, so many families are worried about all the things left unsaid because they were not brave enough to say them and they ran out of time.

We were lucky, because of my father's openness, in that we always said to each other what needed to be said from the moment I was born. There are no regrets about that thanks to his openness, his willingness, his understanding and his love.

But the most important thing I can say about my father is that through our relationship he was able to spare me the void that so many men have in themselves.

The world is filled with adult men who never heard their father say “I love you,” who wonder throughout their lives whether they were loved. I talk to friends about this and see it in magazines and newspapers, and I have always been amazed by this. My father spared me from this wound that many men walk around with.

I never doubted that he loved me. He told me so whenever we spoke. We always hugged. When we were children, because he had to leave for work before we left for school, he would leave notes for us to find each morning to let us know how much he loved us. We kissed on the lips whenever we first saw each other, and when we parted. I never doubted my father's love.

That is the greatest gift that a father can give to his son. I consider it a miracle that he had the strength of spirit to be able to give to me what he was never given himself.

I will always love you and I will always miss you.

My Father: December 1, 1932-January 27, 2009
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