These are the words that I spoke at my dad’s memorial service. Tomorrow, we will be surrounded by people we love, being thankful for all we have. It will be a little sad…because the most important chair will be empty. Dad’s chair. I miss him so much. But I am thankful. Thankful for him, and for the way he raised me.
My dad lived for 50 years before he had an awesome daughter named Victoria. As he tells it: he named me Victoria after some falls in Africa. Lynn–after Victoria. And Edwards after everybody else. The dad jokes have always been plentiful.
I’ve heard stories from his first 50 years. About summers in New Jersey. About his band, The Davenport 5. And how he loved to teach and play his guitar in school…but also throw erasers at the students who couldn’t stay awake. The eraser thing is crazy to me…I’ve never seen my father hurt a fly…but I have several first hand accounts from former students that this was a real thing. I’ve heard stories about working at Penhurst and stories from the day I was born. Mom knew he was beside himself because he had the camera around his neck–but took no pictures.
As for the man that my father was for my lifetime. I don’t even think the right words exist. I’m having trouble deciding on which words are the best words to share and that is wild because words are my thing.
So I’ll start with Musical. Music was my dad. He shared his eclectic taste in music with me–and with generations of others along the way. Gospel, Rock, Country, Blue Grass, Jazz, Classical. From Frank Sinatra to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. From the Eagles to Tchaikovsky. And now: just about anything I hear reminds me of him. The music of my dad is the gift that keeps on giving.
Humor. If you are familiar with any of the Edwards family I’m sure you’re familiar with the humor. It’s dry, sometimes unexpected. It’s driving with dad through farm town USA when he stops and points and says: “Those cows. Are OUTSTANDING in their field.” Or The constant choice of his middle finger for blood sugar testing when mom would say “Donald, I need a finger.”
Storytelling. You’ve probably heard the story of the time my dad met Dick Clark. Or about the time my high school marching band played at the Vet for a Phillies game. According to my dad–I was the only one up on the big screen that day. And now when I start to tell a story that I’ve told many times before, I smile because I know I get that from my dad. Remind me to tell you about that one time I met Jimmy Rollins in an airplane. It’s a good one.
Pride. My dad was a proud man—but proud in that he was always so proud of his loved ones. He talked about me as if I graduated from Harvard instead of Kutztown. I was the star of the field hockey team–even though I never played varsity. I was the prima ballerina–even though I’m pigeon toed and sometimes don’t know my left from my right. Violet is the smartest most beautiful little girl there ever was. As a matter of fact, she is so smart that it’s almost like she’s not a child at all: she’s “a midget”. Ok–so I actually feel the same way about my kids. He was right about Violet.
Compassionate. The only person I know who has as much compassion as my dad is my mom. And also probably Mother Theresa. Over the course of my entire life….and even before there was a me…my dad has been so giving of himself. He would give rides, give money, buy food and even just lend an ear if that is what you needed. I don’t even know how many different families and people have lived in my basement because they had nowhere else to go. He always saw the good in people. Sometimes he only saw the good even when it was surrounded by, and over taken by the bad. If there’s going to be only one lesson to teach your kids: it should be that one. To always find the good.
Smart. He was the smartest man I know.
Safe. He made me feel so safe each and every time I needed to. On Sept. 11th 2001 after I watched a plan fly into a skyscraper on live television–I called my dad. He couldn’t save anyone, he didn’t know anything more than what I knew…but I called him and I felt safer because of it.
Unconditional love. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that my father loved me unconditionally. My earliest memories are of him asking me: “who loves you, baby?” And I would jump on him and yell “you do!”. They say, that if you want your daughter to end up with a man who will treat her right, love her mother that same way. My dad did that flawlessly. He loved my mom every day. All day. So deep down inside, even if I lost my way here and there… I’ve always known my worth.
So, I’ll miss you daddy every day. Thank you. For teaching me how to be like you. For being the best dad in the universe. I love you.