Farewell to my dad, Cy Cohen

I’m so sad to write that my dad, Simon (“Cy”) G. Cohen, passed away on Saturday, March 20. We held the funeral the following Wednesday.

At the service, family and friends expressed warm memories of Dad, centering on his love for family and friends, lifetime of hard work in the grocery and wholesale food industries, and spirited sense of humor.

Previously, on January 8, Dad celebrated his 90th birthday. Family from across the country, along with friends here in the Chicago area, gathered for brunch on Sunday, January 10, to rejoice with him.

Dad was in the hospital in the days leading up to his party and his health was clearly on the decline. In fact, my brother Michael told Dad he had to live until his party, and Michael told all the medical personnel that Dad had to be released from the hospital the morning of the party. So Dad was sprung at about 10 am and prepared for his party.

At that time we shared stories and jokes, and our reminiscences were upbeat. (My husband Wayne captured the entire event on video.) As a result, our eulogies at the funeral were a little shorter. (Our family is rich in talkers.)

The funeral was in our hometown of Canton, OH, though Mom and Dad moved to a supportive living facility in Elk Grove Village, IL, back in 2006 to be closer to their children. So in my remarks I helped his lifelong friends catch up a bit on Dad’s final years:

Dad was generally gracious in the face of life’s final challenges.  In his final weeks, he reflected on his life and told us it had been, all in all, a happy life with more good times than bad. That he had had a lot of fun but sometimes he had not realized how much fun he was having at the time.

He said that finding Mom was the best thing that ever happened to him. To put this in context, the Cohen’s are not a mushy bunch. So this is like Romeo standing under Mom’s balcony and reciting poetry.

When we went to visit Dad the day before he died, it was obvious he was in a lot of pain and suffering quite a bit.  Yet through all of it, the most important thing for him was to reach out and hold Mom’s hand. Holding her hand was the comfort he was looking for at the very end and they held hands for quite some time. A very touching end to the long life of their marriage they shared together.

So now I’d like to say, Dad, I love you. Thank you for all your love and many happy memories.


15 responses to “Farewell to my dad, Cy Cohen

  1. I am so sorry. Thank-you for sharing your Dad and family via this blog. I can tell there is an abundance of love, fun, and caring in your family. Bless you all. Please be gentle and kind to yourself.

  2. What a beautiful description of such a sad time. I enjoy your newsletter every week and would like to express my condolences at such a sad time.
    Diane Hall
    The Writing Hall

  3. Diana,

    Thank you so much for this loving tribute honoring your dad. He sounds like he was a wonderful, loving man who touched you in many ways.

    Love and condolences to you,

  4. Diana,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. It sounds like he had a great life and that he knew how much he was loved.

    with sympathy,
    Kathy Goughenour

  5. Barbara Johnson

    What a beautiful tribute to your whole family Diana. Thank you for sharing the memories. I especially identified with what your dad said, that “he had had a lot of fun but sometimes he had not realized how much fun he was having at the time”. That’s me too. God bless your family.

  6. Lovely tribute, Diana. Passages like these, though inevitable, are never easy. You were lucky to have one another other to learn from.

  7. Diana,

    What a touching tribute to your father. My heart goes out to you and your family.


  8. Thank you all for your kind comments. I appreciate them so much.

    Yes, my dad was a special guy. Our family is so lucky that Mom and Dad moved near by and we had a second chance to appreciate them after the angst of teenager-hood was long past.

    And it is really wonderful to hear from you. Yes, aweber and wordpress do provide certain numbers about readership, but comments such as yours really bring the whole process to life.

    I pledge to keep this in mind as I read other people’s blogs, twitter, etc.

  9. I loved reading your tribute to your Dad here and on the earlier post for his birthday. What a wonderful guy! I can only begin to imagine how much you must miss him.

    Sending love and thoughts of comfort to you and your family.


  10. Dear Diana,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. You have my deepest sympathy. I lost my own father 7 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him very much. It’s good that you have such wonderful memories of your Dad, and of his last days.

  11. Diane,
    What a beautiful story about your Dad’s life. Isn’t it so beautiful about him wanting to hold your mom’s hand and finding comfort after so many years together! It really says it all. Thank you for sharing it with us. Marian

  12. Thank you, Diana, for sharing the happy as well as the more bitterweet moments of your life. It sounds, all in all, like a very gracious passing, which is something to be cherished. It also reminds me of one of my favorite “Ole and Lena” (Scandinavian) jokes: Ole loved Lena so much he ALMOST told her.

  13. Dear Diana ~

    I loved what you wrote about your dad & his passing; thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life.

    Sending you & your family wishes for comfort and rest.


  14. Remember the good times you shared with your dad. They will sustain you in this sad time.

  15. Thank you all so much. It is so comforting to hear from friends.

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