Today I Honor My Father Who Would Have Turned 77 If He Had Lived

IMG_0325I have always been a believer in honoring and remembering my father on the day he was born rather than the day he died. My father died about 11 and a half years ago from an aggressive brain tumor. Immediately upon his diagnosis 20 months earlier he had brain surgery and was never the same after that. My father was a very accomplished and successful medical doctor and a brilliant man. This morning my mother, brother and I were emailing memories and stories about him; where our lives would be if he was still alive; of course thats impossible to know but it is kind of funny wondering if he would have an iPad or not.

I am not quite sure how you ‘honor’ someone. In the case of my father I think about him often; he and my mother raised me and my personality is pretty much half her and half him. So daily life includes things he taught me, things he might have said off the cuff that I remember and have  integrated into my life and thinking and view of the world. I like that so many of his friends and patients still miss him to this day and will reach out to my Mother and let her know how important he was in their lives. Obviously he was more important and made more of an impact on our family.

Today I want to be a celebration of my Father’s life. The good, the bad, the lessons learned, the fun times, the time when he and my Mother visited me in Manhattan and he bought me a VCR because he knew I didn’t earn enough at the time to buy one, his always defending me while at the same time teaching me responsibility, everything that involved him.

I miss him, and always will.

Sidney David Ginsburg, MD June 5, 1936 – January 17, 2002

** The pic is from a wedding in 1980 where both of my parents were probably younger than I am today.


8 thoughts on “Today I Honor My Father Who Would Have Turned 77 If He Had Lived

  1. I love the photo Andrew. I like your idea of honoring your dad on his birthday. I may use it myself. Instead of focusing on the sad death day, we can focus on the birthday and relish in happy family memories. I am so glad you still have your mother and brother to share stories with on this day. Maybe someday you’ll share one of your favorite memories of your dad.

    My dad died of cancer when I was just 30 so I’ve spent more of my life without him than I had with him. I look back and wish I’d spent more time listening to his stories and picking his brain.See this for what I wrote: I wish my children would spend more time with their dad. He will be 75 in July and I know they will rue the day that they didn’t make more time for dad.

    1. Thanks Pat for your thoughtful and lovely response. I dont love that pic but we havent had all old pics scanned yet, for some reason that one was. Its weird to think my parents were younger than I am now. Here is a typical my father story. Before this wedding, which was in either 1980 or 1981, I dont remember; my brother and I were in our bathroom standing in front of our very wide and long mirror both trying to tie our ties. Mine was too short and my brothers was too long, I was taller than my older brother already by then, anyway my father comes in to see whats taking so long and I said my tie is too short and my brother says his is too long; my father said “switch ties” boom problem solved. I am on the left if you didnt recognize me.

      Yes I always want to remember my father on his birthday and how he was in real life; yes I am only sharing positive stories; I dont want to think of the horrible snowy cold day that he died, when cancer had taken its toll; to me that wasnt him. My father was the one who would tell me I was loading the dishwasher incorrectly when I was in my 30s! As far as seeing parents more thats a tough one, life is what it is. I dont regret not seeing him more. I see my mother 3 or 4 or 5 times a year, talk to her weekly, now that she texts I am never free :)… I dont regret not picking my fathers brain more, because at the time I was either too young, too immature … but I knew him very well and was able to show him my love and support before he died, which meant a lot to him. Thanks for sharing! (Btw, if my father was still alive I am sure he would read what I just wrote and have corrections in grammar, word usage, but that was him and you could always rely on him to tell you about the tires on the 1972 Buick Estate station wagon my mother had….he never forgot anything)!

  2. Which fella are you….left or right. May sound crazy, but my father was a Gemini also….verrrrry intelligent people. What a shame. My dad died prematurely also. Happy Birthday Mr. Ginsburg Sr. God bless you for honouring him. You are a good son. A mensch, No?

    Sent from my iPad

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting; I am on the left. I am Mr. Ginsburg, he was Dr. G. Sorry to hear that your Dad died prematurely too; even though I wish my father was still alive today I am happy he lived a great life, made a great impression not only on my brother and me but his friends and patients. I am grateful that my father lived until I was just under 40 years old, I think the impact on me and the rest of the family would have been much worse if it had happened 10 years earlier. I do try to look at the bright side of things. Am I a good son and a mensch, I try to be, but if I said I was that would be presumptuous.

  3. Very touching Andrew, I may have mentioned before that I was raised to celebrate the life lived, not what we have lost. I can’t help feeling a tinge of envy. I never had a father like that. My fathers birthday and the day of his death usually passes without notice. I’m glad you have memories of him, someone like that is never truly gone from us. Some people don’t have that. I love this post, it is a great post.



    1. Thanks Bill for your sincere response. It was me that led the family to honor the day he was born not the horrible day he died; although we do think of them then too. I have only shared nice memories of my father, although my nephew thinks I should share all, but I dont want to give the impression that I was brought up in some perfect world with perfect parents. It was very difficult growing up in a family with so much success, it puts a huge amount of stress on a kid. My Father’s Father was even more successful, so there was mind boggling pressure growing up. I remember everything and my the memory of my father is positive, happy and strong. I think its up to us, the living, to preserve the memory, my older brother (he’s on the right in the pic), my mother, my niece and nephew all miss him and its up to us to keep his memory alive. And for me personally, there is no way I can’t, he taught me how to do things and I still think about his opinion. Like I said to Pat, if my Father was alive today and reading what I just wrote I am sure he would sit me down and point out any grammatical errors, wrong word usage…. but that was why we loved him

  4. very nice picture. When I worked with your father at the hospital he was a stickler for accuracy and if it wasn’t done correctly you heard from him. I did make an error on some paperwork and your Dad brought it to my attention, nicely of course. Your Dad loved a good story and joke and we had many of laughs. He also cared a great deal for his patients and was well respected. I enjoyed working with him and very greatful when he took great care of me when I was a patient. My parents are both gone and as time goes by the bad memories of their death fade and the good ones become stonger.

    1. Hi Sue, thanks so much for your kind words about my Father and sharing your memories. I sent your response to my Mother and brother who were very touched. Although, we had to all laugh about the “stickler for accuracy” that we all know very well! Thanks again for reading and sharing, he would be very honored to know that after being gone almost a dozens years his colleagues and patients (or both in your case) still remember him fondly.

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