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


  1. Very moving. I am also glad that I know that my father loves me. I think I’ll give him a call tonight.

  2. Denstark, I think I’ll call my dad tonight too. I’m grateful that he’s always let me know how much he loves me, and has always been there for me. I don’t take that for granted.

    (I seem to have a little something in my eye here, excuse me.)

    I’m so sorry for Scott Edelman’s loss.

  3. Thanks for sharing that, and my heart goes out to his family. Like the other commenters, I think I’m going to go call my Dad now.

  4. This is a really beautiful eulogy, and while I’m sure it’s a hard time for Mr. Edelman, it seems like it was probably something really easy to write based on the kind of man his father was and the kind of man his father raised. The words are beautiful but too rare because the relationship they describe is too rare; though my father was not as demonstrative, I’ve never doubted that he loved his family more than anything else in the world, and it’s way too easy to forget how lucky I am. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. That was very moving indeed. I wish I can be a father like that if I ever have children of my own. Thanks for sharing.

  6. As a father of two young children that is the sort of stuff I want to live up to.
    Be all you can be truly means to be like that, love and be loved.


  7. Very touching.

    In reading this, I compare my own father, my father in law, and my husband. Both my own father and my father-in-law are affectionate and loving toward their offspring, and their daughter/son-in-law.

    My husband has a 4-year-old brother, and when they interact I see what kind of father he will be someday. There is a great deal of playfulness, affection and love there, and I know that our future child(ren) will be lucky to have him as a dad.

  8. My late friend Dodie Russo was a tough, brawling Italian-American (emphasis on Italian) bar owner, bartender and bouncer. He had two athletic teen-age sons that he would kiss or cuff around, depending on the occasion. He told me about their occasional objections to the kissing:

    “They don’t like me kissing them, I kick their asses! — see how they like that.”

    Of course they adored him.

  9. Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope that I can be this kind of father for my son. Your dad is someone for everyone to look up to.

  10. That was beautiful. Every father should read that aspire to be like the man he’s describing. I realized the importance of saying “I Love You” to all my family and being open with my emotions when my grandfather died. I was in High School when it happened and what hurt the most was that I couldn’t remember ever telling him I loved him. I adored him, but never expressed it in words. My grandmother assured me he knew, but it still hurt to know I’d never told him. I tell everyone I love that I do every chance I get now.

    Thanks for sharing that.

  11. I followed a link here and my first thought was a cynical “oh what is this crap? a eulogy on Boing Boing?”. I found myself reading on anyway, having a soft spot of curiosity after losing a close friend a little while ago. I got sucked in and found myself in tears by the end. very touching. thank you for sharing.

  12. I have been reading here for quite some time and today I am moved to comment. My condolences to Mr Scott Edelman and his family. This was the most beautiful eulogy I have ever read/seen. This is a very fortunate family and though I cannot call my own father, he has passed on already, I was there with him when he went and I can say that I too, had this type of love from my father. He is in my thoughts right now. Thank you for sharing this and I am sure that Scott’s father is smiling on us all right now.

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