Eulogy for Father


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Eulogy for Father


Thank you all so much for coming today to help my brother, sisters and me remember our father, Ralph.

I am so happy to be able to look out and see the faces of those very special people who cared for dad and supported me during the past 3 years at Lincoln Place. I have come to know some very special people, particularly dad's companions...Wahid, dad's companion during his last 16 months, Miajan, Mimi, Sheila, Kabir...I can't thank you enough. Also Merci, Ashya, Julie, Michael...I could not do the job you do so compassionately every day at Lincoln Place.

I also offer heartfelt thanks to Timothy Eaton Church and particularly Dr. H. for welcoming dad and me into your church. I'm particularly grateful because apart from my visits, the only other thing that seemed to touch my father's soul was being in church. I also thank you for welcoming numerous elderly Jewish Lincoln Place residents; I don't know if they understood the service but they sure enjoyed the food afterwards!

My sister Deborah always said our father would not go quietly into the night. How right she was. Dad fought up to the very end. Deb and I thought we had lost him the Sunday before Easter but he rallied once again. For too long I have wondered where he got his strength from, a man imprisoned in both mind and body. I believe he was ready to go; that Sunday night when I was told - once again - that he would not last the night, I told dad I was going home for a quick shower and that I would be right back. I didn't know if he could hear me or not. Twenty minutes after my return, dad quietly stopped breathing. I believe he was waiting for me to be by his side, as I promised him I would be.

Those of you who knew dad in healthier times would agree I think that he was not an easy man to live with or love. But he somehow managed to mellow in his last years and appreciate those around him. Dad never complained about the cards fate had dealt him. After his first major stroke and I am sure after several smaller ones he said to me: "Karen, something is wrong. I don't know what it is, but something is wrong." I did not tell him I knew what it was, that he was slowly losing his mind.

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"Eulogy for Father." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Sep 2017
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I will never forget the time we were out walking one beautiful fall afternoon. He pointed at a tree and asked me what kind it was. I told him it was a maple tree. He asked me how I knew; I picked up a leaf and described the points on it and the color. A little while later he asked: "How do you know me?" Not being prepared for such a question and through a few tears, I answered: “I know you by your face and by your voice". I then asked him: “How do you know me?" He replied: "I know you by your appearance."

Family was very important to dad. During my early years in the business world he wrote me countless letters full of his thoughts, experiences and more than a little advice. I read from a letter dated June 29th, 1978. Dad wrote: "Love for children means devotion in actions and not just in words. Mum and I tried not to interfere in your lives and to understand. We failed in some cases but we tried with all the love and devotion in our hearts to give. We didn't give you kids a big kiss and run off to the country club - you kids were our life. There were many times when things were very difficult but Mum and I never let our worries be reflected in the home life of our children. Some people just quietly perform and so express their inner feelings of love and pride in their children."

My father kept his dignity right to the end, enabled by the compassionate care he received.

I believe there is a reason for everything, including what our father suffered. I have to believe this. It's because of the deeply forgetful people like him and because he allowed himself to be photographed, filmed and written about that the stigma has been removed from the words Alzheimer and dementia.

Dad has left another important legacy. If it had not been for our journey together over the past 14 years, I never would have started Caregiver Network. I always used to tell dad he was getting famous when another picture of us appeared in a magazine or we were filmed yet again for television. I believe he got a kick out of these words, although I doubted he understood the scope of his effect. Together dad and I have helped countless thousands of caregivers around the world, many of whom I will never meet.

My siblings and I never had the chance to honor our mother after her death so I am taking a moment today. She was a wonderful combination of strength, grace, stubbornness and elegance. We continue to miss her presence.

Doug, Lanci, Debbie and I were loved unreservedly by our parents.

God bless them both. They gave us life. May they rest in peace.


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