This Shabbat, I have yartzeit for my dad, Louis David Small [Eliezer David Ha Kohen] a”H, who left us and this world on September 9, 1980 / 28th Elul 5740.
My dad was a wonderful man. As a young man, he served his country Canada in the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, and was deployed to the raging war in Europe two days after he and my Mother a”H were married. Baruch Hashem, three years later he came home. I recently found his discharge papers dated January 1946.
My dad was a great husband, a super father and a loving grandfather. He was kind. He was good natured and he really cared about the next person. He would give you the shirt off his back, if that was what you needed. Our family was the most important part of his life.
When he passed away, because it was Erev Rosh Hashana, we only sat shiva for 1 hour. During that hour and for days and weeks after, the stories we heard about my dad were so up lifting but not surprising. People we didn’t know but who read the death notice in the newspaper contacted us to say how my dad helped them so much.
When my brother and I were children, he was always there for us. No matter the situation. He would do anything for his children.
My dad would speak softly, but directly to us, never down to us. When I had a problem we would go for a walk or a drive in the country and talk all the way. He made every problem seem not so bad.
As a teenager, my dad and I washed the supper dishes every evening. He taught me how organize the kitchen and work clean. The few minutes it took too clean-up was my best part of the day. He always asked me how was my day?
My dad would help me with my homework. One time, when I was ten years old, I had a geography project in school. I had to make a scrapbook about each province in Canada and say what it was known for. Now I had weeks to get this project done, but I procrastinated and before I knew it the project was due, and I had information only on one province.
The night before the due date, I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about the trouble I was in. At 10:00 in the evening, I finally told my parents my problem. My father was really upset with me, but gently he told me he would try and help me out and that I should go to sleep.
A few minutes later he was out of the house and drove to the train station. Since we lived in Montreal, the Canadian National Railways had a very large station underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hotel that was opened all the time. My father was able to get great information on every province.
Five o’clock in the morning, he woke me up and said to me “here is your information, now get to work.” I worked like I never worked in my life. By 8:30 when I had to go to school, my project was more than half finished. I told my teacher that I would bring my project after lunch.
In those days, we came home for lunch. I finished the project while munching on a sandwich. I couldn’t believe it. My project was completed. I thanked my father million times for getting the information for me and I promised that I would never procrastinate again.
To this very day, many years later, I never procrastinate.
Daddy, even though 36 years have passed, I remember our lasts days together as if it was just today. It was Moetzi Shabbos, the night of Selichot. For some reason, I couldn’t calm down. I just felt the need to cook for Rosh Hashana and I cooked up a storm until it was time to go to Selichot. When we came home, I went back to the kitchen to continue cooking.
Eight o’clock Sunday morning Mommy called and said that you had a heart attack and that I should come to Montreal. [We were living in Hamilton, Ontario] I told her I would get the next flight out. I then understood what I was feeling.
By Sunday afternoon I was at your bedside. Yitzchak arrived from Detroit a couple of hours later. We spent as much time as the hospital would allow visiting and talking with the doctors.
Tuesday morning, you said that you wanted to speak to me alone. You told me to go home to my family. When I protested and said that my family was in good hands you told me not to argue and said I could come back after Rosh Hashana. You then requested to speak to Yitzchak and told him to go home. Yom Tov was the follow evening. What I didn’t realize at the time was that you were saying good-bye.
With a very heavy heart, we returned to our respective homes. I to Hamilton and Yitzchak to Detroit.
From Montreal to Hamilton the flight was a little over an hour. I arrived in Hamilton in time to go and pick up the girls from school. As we entered the hall of our apartment building, I could hear my telephone ringing. It was Mommy, saying that you had just passed away. Two hours later, Yitzchak and I were on our way back to Montreal.
Daddy, there is so much more I want to tell you....
I can hardly believe thirty-six years have passed, since you were taken from us. You and Mommy started as two and today you have 12 grandchildren, 59 sabra great-grandchildren, and your first sabra great-great granddaughter was born 3 months ago. Can you believe I’m a great-grandmother?
We miss your presence in our daily lives, to share in our joy and to comfort when we need a good cry.
We know you are watching over us from your resting place and smiling down at us, happy we all live in Eretz Yisrael.
Daddy, you and mommy have grandsons and great-grandsons that have served, will serve or are now serving in the IDF and granddaughters and a great-granddaughter that have also served our country.
Seventeen years ago Mommy left us, to join you in paradise. We miss you both so very much..
The younger generation lost out on not knowing two special people. How they would have loved to bounce and sit and play with you.
Daddy, now it is time to end my letter with one more line to say
we love and miss you everyday NEVER FORGOTTEN in any way.
That all for now.
I would like to wish everyone...
Shana Tova U'metukah, Ktiva v'Chatima Tova
May it be written and may it be sealed that you have a new year that brings fulfillment, joy, prosperity, and good health .