Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eulogy for my father

Thank you so much to all of you who have come here today to honor my father or to support me and my mother. Each individual life can be compared to a pebble being cast into a body of tranquil water. Even the tiniest stone when it hits causes ripples upon ripples to stir the whole body. Never does one’s life not deeply impact things seen and unseen. It is encouraging to see that even though Norm was a complainer that his life held bearing more than I will ever know.

Norman Bertram Magder was 61 years old and he just about made it to his 62nd birthday. Survived by his cousin Robert, his sister Rosemary and me his only daughter. My dad’s family come from Eastern Europe and extend from a Jewish background. Norman’s grandfather was Joseph Cohn who was born in Lublin, Poland on July 17, 1889. His parents immigrated to Toronto when he was two years old. His great-great grandfather was Rabbi Judah Ha-Kohen of Budvic, Lithuania. Nettie Temes Cohn was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1894. Her parents were from the province of Galicia in Eastern Europe. The family moved to Toronto when Nettie was still a young girl. Joseph and Nettie were married in Toronto on June 25,1919. Nettie became a well-known caterer in Toronto. Her specialty was apple strudel.
I did not have the whole of 23 years to become acquainted with my father so sadly, I do not know him as well as I wish I did. Regardless there are a few specific details that I have undeniably inherited from him.

I have never known my father with a full head of hair. Lets be honest, my mother never knew my father with a full head of hair and they met when she was 24 years old. That persistently sun kissed-bronzed bald surface of his was the envy of many supermodels dreams. He left me with a love for the sun, little jewish ringlets on the sides of my face and beautiful five-head that I will never again be ashamed of.

When Norm was not working hard at his job or enjoying fellowship around the poker table, he was constantly watching sports. My desire to spend time with my dad developed in me a competitive edge and a love for (some) sports. I do not know if my dad was a rigorous athlete, but he certainly was knowledgeable about the things he cared most about. (He will be happy to know that the Flames are doing pretty well this season). When I told my dad that I joined our prestigious floor hockey league in my first year of college I could see his subtle interest. This year when I called him up to tell him that we won the equivalent to the Stanley Cup, his subtle interest swelled to a teeming pride.

When I was a little girl I saw my dad as a suave, cultured man. When he lived in Vancouver and Calgary he was connected with many high rollers and those in big business. He had a deep appreciation for other cultures, especially the cuisine part of the culture (as most could tell by his plump rounded center). However infrequent our time was together, the most memorable moments were spent enjoying delectable, mouth-watering food. He knew every exceptional restaurant from the hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese joint, to the lavished fresh seafood locales. It did not matter if we went to Tim Hortons to enjoy a coffee (a custom he fulfilled a number of times a day) or if we enjoyed take out sushi at the house, my father instilled in me a great love for food and fellowship.

There are many tough situations I have walked though in my short 23 years on this earth. In all honesty this is the most devastating and disorienting circumstance I have had to face. Death is one of the only things we can know for certain will come to pass, yet there is never anything that can prepare us enough to absorb the feeling of loss. My father is gone and the world as I see it will never be the same again. Although I have experienced some lasting memories with my dad my deepest laments are that he will not see me graduate with my degree in the spring. He will not be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. He will never experience being called grandpa.

In the end however, there is hope for the future. Hope seems to always be mixed with disappointment and the despair can sometimes seem to overshadow the expectation for the good that is to come. This is one of those times. But hope will always stand in the end. I will deeply miss my father but I can stand here today and say that I know that the Lord is in control and His plans are always good.