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  • Writer's pictureEllen Bookman

I can finally say the words...

My dad passed away on May 6, 2021, at 1:42 pm.

We all know that 2020 sucked for everyone. For me, the year was spent worrying about my dad. I dreaded the phone ringing because, every time it did, my heart sank.

When the call finally came in on Friday, April 30th, I was going the next day anyway and kept my flight. My dad never regained consciousness. The last thing I ever sent to my dad was a meme of Beyoncé and Nurse Ratchet telling him I would be there to take care of him.

He passed quietly (after a few days of struggling) on May 6th -- two days after his 87th birthday. I'm glad he waited until after his birthday to pass as it seemed really eerie to have to deal with that every year.

Below is the eulogy I delivered at his funeral. I wrote it the before he had actually passed, while at the beach at sunrise. It was peaceful. Beautiful. Serene. I started several renditions for a few days and nothing came to me.

Then, I saw this!

Then, I wrote this:

I couldn’t sleep yesterday. Something was happening. I could feel it. I woke Lee up. I was obsessed with getting to the beach at sunrise.

We walked. I shot some video of birds taking off in flight with their huge wings skimming the waters edge as they began their assent upwards.

I realized what was happening.

Joe was finally beginning to fly away. On his next adventure. A new journey. “the best journey”.

I believe your soul floated above me as the birds took off in flight. My writer’s block lifted. I sat on the beach and finally was able to put my feelings to paper.

You passed a while later.

Papa Joe and I had a special relationship. We talked all the time despite the fact that he never ever knew my phone number nor recognized my 770 area code even after 30 years of living in Atlanta.

I called him day and night with a million questions. We also debated on some very important topics such as why the Dolphins couldn’t win; Dan Marino’s record vs never having won a super bowl; flying vs driving the road to Hana; and if we agreed on the winner of the national dog show.

While we always chatted, there was one phone call that happened every Sunday or Monday night starting 30 years ago when I moved to Atlanta.

Calls went like this:

Before the game:

Me: so what do u think dad? Think we can win this one?

Dad: we shall see

Then, Two offensive plays later

Me: WTF is happening

Dad: they didn't even show up for the game!

I'm thankful to have inherited His gift of the gab, sense of humor, Obsessions with the Romanov Dynasty; the titanic and gone with the wind, his wanderlust and fighting spirit.

There won’t be a day that goes by without you in my thoughts. I will pick up the phone inevitably every Sunday and Monday to call you for the rest of my life.

Rest In Peace papa joe.


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