A Eulogy for My Dad

Mandel Family

My Dad died this morning, December 29th, shortly before his 75th birthday.

He liked children and dogs and expensive dinners and pin striped suits and Mercedes Benz cars and being Jewish. Before his health declined, he was a big personality contained in a tall impressive package. He loved that I traveled and he would ask me to greet the penguins or the elephants or the orcas for him while I was out in the world. He was a salesman and an ex-con and he loved his wife and he wanted the best for his children. I think he genuinely believed that the Jews were the Chosen People, but he was staunchly anti-racist. He played the banjo and the guitar and he liked to drink coffee and sometimes, scotch. He was a swimmer, a veteran of the Korean war, a boy from New York who moved his family west but never quite lost his New York accent.  He could, as they say, fill up a room. He was also deeply flawed, as humans are, and his life had, well, it sort of got away from him, I suppose.

I am a lot like my Dad, opinionated and stubbornly convinced that I’m right 99% of the time. I have his lousy eyesight and his over-sized ego.  I share his joy in the absurd and while it has manifested in different ways, I have his appetite for life.

My Dad has been lost to me for several years now; he had Alzheimer’s and our family relationships have been difficult. But I loved him and I will miss him now that he is really gone.

Top: My Dad (left), his parents Moe and Ada, and my uncle, Jack, who died last year, ~1951
Bottom: My Dad when he still had his memory, 2009

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21 thoughts on “A Eulogy for My Dad

  1. My condolences.

    Sounds like your dad contributed to a large part of what makes you YOU. So even without meeting him, I gotta thank him for leaving this world a little better place.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. My mom died just a few months ago and had been suffering from dementia. Such a confusing vat of emotions the whole situation creates. I don’t miss the angry negative person she had become but I do really just miss having a mom. Just know this stranger from the Internet is sending you peace.

  3. I’m so sorry Pam. My grandfather had dementia alongside Parkinson’s and watching his decline wasn’t easy. I hope the good memories of your father are what stay; it looks like you got his love of stringed instruments.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Sometimes the things we miss the most are the ones we never had, but imagined and desired. When we lose our parents it gets easier to selectively chose the good memories of them, and move on from the bad ones. Thinking of you tonight.

  5. I send you my heartfelt condolences. May you find a quiet place to mourn your father’s death and family and friends to hold you gently in their tender embrace.

  6. I am glad that he took pleasure from your adventures. As a father, I can say this much – he was a very lucky man because you, my dear, are one cool kid. Love and strength to you.

  7. Very, very sorry for your loss. My dad also died a few years ago (at 66) from AD. It is an emotional and difficult disease. Best advice I received was to try and forget those tough years of the disease and hold all the good times close to your heart. And throwing rocks helps too. Best, Monica

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss, Pam. I know how much weirder and more complicated the feelings can be when you lose someone through Alzheimers, when you have to lose pieces of them many times over the span of years before you finally lose them. I’m sending you a million hugs and happy vibes. He sounds like a formidable man.

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