For Dad

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The stated purpose of my blog is true, but while composing it I realized who the single best target member of my audience would be: Dad.

I could always tell Dad any little thing--no matter how whimsical or irrelevant--and he would listen and reply with unbounded and genuine interest and enthusiasm. During the sporadic days of my old web log and sports log, Dad was my single biggest inspiration for writing. I could always count on receiving an email response from him the same day that I would post. These weren't single-line responses either; they were well thought out comments, discussions, and questions on whatever arbitrary topic I had written about.

Anyway, because he would have enjoyed reading this blog as much as anyone, I'm dedicating this blog to Dad. I wrote the following about three weeks after Dad died last year, and it captures many of my feelings about Dad:

Always There

"Always there." Two little words, but together they speak volumes about the
person that my Dad, Steve Feigenbaum, was. Within those words are Dad's
soaring passions, his fierce loyalties, his sparkling smile, and his
endless love. Dad taught me innumerable things in the times we shared, but
perhaps most of all he taught me that an openhearted life of "always there"
can yield untold vigor and joy for many, many people.

What does it mean to live a life of "always there?" For Dad, it meant that in
all aspects of his life, from day-to-day minutiae to long-term outlooks and
plans, he always knew, expressed, and acted on exactly what he wanted and what
was best for the people he loved. It was very difficult to know my Dad a little
without knowing him a lot. His energy and warmth would draw people close, and,
once close, Dad's true self was always there. He never minced words, and he
lay bare his soul for all who would get close to see, to enjoy, and to learn

You need only have met my Dad on any August day to know the passion for the
Mets or his hatred for the Yankees that would gnaw at him one day only to
invigorate him the next. Chance to call on a Friday or Saturday night in the
fall or winter and you'd learn of his ardor for Penn basketball. All was not
lost should your call go unanswered, as Dad's musical love and talent was
evident in his rendition of a rewritten version of "Blue Moon" on our
answering machine. Dad's passions were definitely always there.

Dad was always there to answer questions, no matter how trivial, or to hear
stories, no matter how irrelevant. He'd stop everything he was working on in
the middle of tax season to talk to me on the phone, and regardless of whether
I wanted to ask him an accounting question for a friend, chat about the latest
Mets game, or discuss plans for an upcoming vacation, he was happy to oblige
and indulge. And yet, he was always there for his clients as well, working
late into those cold winter nights, dotting every 'I' and crossing every 'T',
caring about their livelihoods and their lives, right up until his final days.
I doubt that any of Dad's many, many friends and family members have ever
known someone who would take as forthright an interest in the smallest details
of their lives as Dad did.

Dad's Judaism was always there throughout his life. His uncomplicated and
unchanging beliefs taught me the warmth and joy that can come from Jewish
traditions. I could always look to Dad as my model for dovening in shul,
leading Friday night Kiddush and Ha'motzi, and singing melodious haftarahs.
The perfect Passover Seders that Mom organized would never have been complete
without Dad joyfully leading them. Passover will never, ever, be the same
without Dad. Of all the religious traditions that I learned from Dad,
duchening impacted me the most. I will never lose my memories of standing on
the bimah and chanting the priestly blessing, together, with Dad always there
at my side.

Growing up, Dad was always around to share good times with. I couldn't begin
to count the number the number of tennis matches, croquet games, aerodarts
games, leaf races, or simple games of catch that he played with me during the
summers in the Catskills. Our vacations in the Caribbean were filled with
great times, and when Mom and Randi wanted to ride Space Mountain at
Disney World but I was too afraid, Dad was always there to ride the good ol'
People Mover with me, again and again.

One tiny incident from my childhood stands out. Near the end
of my brief and unspectacular little league experience, I found more and more
that as I stood in the outfield during twilight games I had trouble picking up
the ball off the bat. I told Dad this, and I have vivid memories of seeing my Dad
trot out along the left field line to stand 50 feet away from me to help me know
when the ball was headed my way. It probably seemed frustrating,
insignificant, and embarassing at the time, but remembering it today fills me
with overwhelming gratitude and longing for Dad.

How can a world function without someone who was always there? I can't imagine
existing without Dad's presence as a rock-steady anchor in my life. How can Dad
not be around to discuss the Mets? How can Dad not be working late at the
office on a cold March night? How can Dad not be leading a Passover Seder?
These questions seem the height of absurdity to me, yet they are the impossible
truth that we face now. I know that many people who I love very much believe
that Dad is still always there, watching and enjoying all of the lives of his
beloved friends and family. I do not know if this is so, though I hope so
dearly. What I do know, is that I owe Dad what little I can do to be an "always
there" presence for the people I love. I'll also make sure to cherish and
share all my love and memories of Dad. In these ways, at least, Dad will truly
always be there.

Lee Feigenbaum
July 1, 2004

1 Comment

hye Mr Lee Feigenbaum.. im really sad n happy to read ur article.. coz my dad just pass away.. and now im really miss him.. i read ur article is just like my dad do for us....
ur article really good..

[Grace, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'm sure your Dad loved you as much as you love and miss him. --Lee]

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lee Feigenbaum published on September 19, 2005 2:45 AM.

Souvenir was the previous entry in this blog.

No One Deserves Lung Cancer is the next entry in this blog.

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