In Honor and Loving Memory
of Milton Weiner
My Compelling Reason Why
There are many reasons people take on the challenge of attempting to run a marathon. Some people do this because it sounds like a great way to challenge your physical self, lose a few inches and improve your cardio fitness. These are all side benefits for me and not the compelling reason why I signed up for this event. When I received a card from Team in Training offering me an opportunity to run a marathon in loving memory of my Dad, I simply had to do this.
For 22 years I have missed my father, thought about him often, and I have wondered if he knew just how much he meant to me. He died when he was too young to die, when I was too young to lose him. We told each other often we loved each other but there were so many conversations that I would have loved to have shared with him in recent years. I would love to be able to tell him what he means to me. Instead, I will share some of my strongest memories with you.
Some Lessons from My Dad
The warmth of his smile could light up a room. He had a zest for life and loved to tell jokes and laugh so hard that everyone would laugh with him even if the joke wasn’t funny. You didn’t know if you were laughing at the joke or if it was his raucous laughter that was carrying you away. He would get these hysterical sounding hiccups when he laughed…I inherited that gene too, along with my 3 children! He showed me how to be joyful.
My Dad was bald most of his adult life and had more hair on his chest and back than most men have on their heads. Regardless he was undeniably an incredibly handsome man. He had no insecurities and exuded confidence wherever he went. He had no problem making fun of himself and enjoyed making people laugh even at his own expense. When people met him they instantly loved him. Dad was the world’s best salesman and could sell ice to an Eskimo. By his example, he taught me how to love myself and accept myself exactly as I am.
He was strict and no nonsense when he felt you had done wrong. At the young age of 8 years old I told a lie and he punished me so severely that I will never forget it nor the lesson…your word is your bond. I learned the deep importance of trust and integrity.
My Dad loved to play sports and would often play basketball with my brother. Feeling left out, when I was about 9 years old I told my father that I wanted to spend time with him too, one on one. Being old fashioned and not thinking of doing something sports related with a girl (he should see me now!) he came up with the idea of planting a garden with me, pictured above. He taught me the importance of listening.
Growing up he always told me how much he loved me. He would say often “I love you with all my heart”. But he didn’t just say the words; he said them so that you felt them. It was as if love just poured out of him. I remember as a teenager pulling the car into the driveway and walking up the walkway as he was on the front lawn doing yard work. I would notice him stop and lean on his rake, just like in the picture here, and gaze at me with the most loving eyes. I will never forget it. He showed me how to love unconditionally.
The incredible warmth of his hugs…oh how I miss them and can still close my eyes and feel them. He met me in my dorm room at college one day and was in my room waiting for me gazing out the window with his back turned. I remember thinking what broad shoulders he had and how incredibly handsome he was. Then he turned to me and gave me one of his famous loving hugs. I love you Dad.
When my Dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he fought hard and never lost his optimism. For Dad, the glass was always half full. I remember he made sales calls from his hospital room trying his best to keep things going monetarily for his family while he fought this terrible illness. He showed me how to stay determined.
After a year and a half of fighting, the cancer found its way to his liver. We were to go to the hospital for a last effort to save his life. At this point my strong father was walking with a cane. He came outside and asked me to take his hand to walk the property with him so he could take one last look. I don’t know how I kept my composure. I assure you, I don’t have it right now. He taught me about courage.
I am so deeply grateful to have had my father in my life. His love and influence did not die 22 years ago. His lessons will live on through me and my children. As I run this marathon on Sunday, with every step I take, I run for you Dad. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten. After all of these years, I love you more now than ever. Somehow I know that you will be with me every step of the way…the wind that pushes me right to the finish line.
With all my love,
(This dedication page was written for my father before completing the NJ Marathon, April 29th, 2007)