Today, 6/4/2010 is the first anniversary of my Dad’s death. This is what I said at his Memorial. It is hard to believe a year has passed, I don’t believe that time heals all wounds anymore. But I do understand that life goes on. I miss him every day.
MAX WEINAR 1927 -2009
My dad was an amazing man. Everyone knew a different side of him and I’d like to tell you about the side I knew and loved. He was always bigger than life to me. His approval was almost as important to me as getting him to laugh.
His favorite color was red.
Among his accomplishments, he worked for Chase Fertilizer in Sanford and Walker Fertilizer in Orlando, until it burned down. He refereed basketball and football games for the Florida High School Athletic Association. In the mid 70’s he was the Maintenance and Construction foreman building the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford with Mr. Jack Hanna. All throughout his life he was in the construction business, and in the 70s & 80’s, he was construction foreman for now Commissioner Bill Segal, building in Wekiva, Polo Park, and Clarmont areas.
He was the ultimate control freak, way before it was a popular thing to be. He ruled with intimidation, most rules were unspoken, and yet understood. In high school, he never said that I could not date boys with long hair. He simply said anyone with long hair would have to wear a bra in his house. And I knew he meant it. The horror of that thought kept me from dating boys with long hair.
Dad loved confrontation. He was never afraid of making someone else mad and I am sure, partially enjoyed it. It did make him crazy sometimes, but he loved to stir the pot. Even in the rehab center, my brother was visiting while Dad was yelling at someone and when they left the room he said, “wasn’t that fun?” If you have ever been on the other side of one of his confrontations, you know how frustrating he can be. But when he was on your side, you could not have a better ally. He was always true to his beliefs.
Dancing with mom was a passion. When he got his knee replaced a few years ago he told me the only reason he wanted to do it was so he could dance with mom again. If you ever saw them on the dance floor together, you understood why. One of my favorite memories is dancing the waltz with dad. He could twirl you so much that your feet left the floor. It was wonderful.
He loved mom so very much and it was always evident. They were never a couple that let the children get in the way of their marriage. They were always a united front and if there were differences of opinions, us kids never knew it. When I was growing up, they went out alone on Mom’s Birthday (June 16th and their anniversary (December 9th). The rest of the time, we were together as a family. It was a rare occasion they went out alone. Friday night grocery shopping was their date night. Tuesday morning before he went into the hospital for the last time, I called him in the rehab center and asked how he was. Mom had just come in and said that she was his “ray of sunshine”. It was so wonderful to have two parents who loved each other. I will always be blessed by that memory.
Dad was a proud man too. He didn’t want people to see him using a walker. And he did not want to grow old. He wrote me a letter years ago when I lived in Germany that “he would be retiring soon but he would still have to work. It would be hard to just sit still and do nothing, that way you die a little each day.” It was around that time that dad started cooking. Most of you know what a wonderful cook he was but that was not always the case. When we were kids, mom had to go up north for the funeral of her father and that left dad at home to cook for us kids. We all went to the neighbors and asked if we could eat with them so we didn’t have to eat his cooking. He made a meatloaf and Swedish meatballs that were so bad I still can’t eat them. But he watched his cooking shows and he learned. And he was the go-to guy when I needed to know how to cook something. Teaching me to cook was the first time I remember him actually having patience. I never got his talent but he celebrated with me every time I got it right. His last couple days in the hospital he spoke a lot if gibberish, mostly not understood but words that came through were cooking instructions. We heard bananas, Food Channel and spinach. Patti’s friend told her that when he was talking gibberish, he wasn’t talking to us, he was talking to the spirits of his family. Not only did that bring comfort but it made me laugh. He was telling them how to prepare his welcome banquet. Dad, always in charge.
I spent the night at the hospital with him his last night. I could not leave him alone. I wanted to be sure that he had someone there if he decided to go. But he would have none of it. He waited until Mom could be there with him as he breathed his last breath. Mom, Barb, Max and Patti were there, while I was at home sleeping. And they tell me it was peaceful and beautiful. And we were all blessed by his life and his death.