Dr. John Lawrence Schneiderman
March 24, 1933-June 10, 2015
I don’t think I’m going to get to speak at your funeral tomorrow, so I wanted to do a eulogy in my own way. In many ways, you were a stranger to me. You were one of the fears that I had to face this year. Seeing you so ill in February was so hard, but letting you know that I forgave you is bringing me peace right now. I know you didn’t agree that you needed forgiveness, you didn’t believe that you did anything wrong. I still needed to say it though. As with most things, we had to agree to disagree.
I am sorry Dad. I always felt that I was a disappointment to you. I was never Daddy’s little girl, but my Bobbie’s soul mate and my mother’s daughter. I wanted to look at you the way Mummy looked at her Dad – as a hero. I know that you looked at him the same way as well and I wish that your parents were as wonderful as Bobbie and Zaidie. I wanted to respect you and put you on a pedestal and maybe, I failed you in that way, and for that I am sorry. I did respect your intelligence and I did have compassion for your shortcomings. I did try to be the best daughter that I could.
I will try to remember some of the good things, Dad. Like the time when I was a little girl and I was afraid that Frankenstein was going to take me away. You and Mummy sat on my bed and explained to me that we had two big wooden doors that he would never be able to break into. I remember how we always had the most beautiful garden in Boulderwood because you had a green thumb. I remember how you loved to tell a dirty joke and you did it well. I’ll remember how you snuck surgical scrubs out of the hospital so that I’d have something to wear on career day. I’ll remember that you and I were the only two people in the house who loved Shakespeare and we’d trade quotes. I’ll remember how you taught me to play gin. I’ll remember how you took me to meet your 99 year old patient so that I could interview him for a school project and the pride that I felt when he told me about how you saved his life. I’ll remember how you let me give the pre-op orders over the phone once or twice…”Chest…ECG…BUN…Creatinine…Electrolytes…CBC and Sed Rate…Mogadan 10 HS…SS Enema HS…prep mid chest…” I still remember that to this day.
I’ll also remember the bad. I won’t dwell on it. I won’t be bitter because of it, but I’ll remember. Again, I’ll try to be compassionate. When we came to see you in February, I made the decision not to bring up the past to you. I knew that there was no point in arguing with a dying man. It was so sad for me to see you barely able to hold a paper cup of juice. Your once steady, surgeon’s hands shaking as you tried to sip it. It broke my heart to see your body covered with bruises caused by the blood thinners. You were defeated. Where Mummy can be so strong and fearless, you were always more timid. When Mummy gets sick, I look at her, and she still has a spark – you didn’t have that spark when I saw you. When I went to leave the room for a minute, and you said “Jill…Jill where are you going?” I was shocked because it was one of the few times in my life where I saw you vulnerable and where I thought you actually wanted me to stay.
I wish that you had been able to go and die with dignity in your own home surrounded by your own things instead of in a hospital room. I wish that you didn’t have to die alone without your children at your bedside. Dad, I wish that wherever you are, that you finally have peace and that you were able to forgive yourself. I hope that you know that I never hated you and that I’ll be OK Dad, we’ll all be OK.