June 19, 2011, - 4:05 pm

On Father’s Day–And Every Day–I Miss You, Dad!

By Debbie Schlussel

I remember Father’s Day 2007 like it was yesterday.  My father was dying of pancreatic cancer, and I knew that it would be his last Father’s Day.  At the card section of the store, I had sunglasses on and was crying because I knew I was losing the most important part of my life.  How do you buy a card for your father when you know it will be the last one you will ever give him?  Nothing is special enough, when you know you are saying good-bye to the world’s greatest dad.

Me and My Dad, Ten Days After I Was Born


My Dad (Center) Receives Award From

Michigan Lions Club for Providing Free Eye Care to the Poor, Blind

Even though it has been nearly four years since I lost my dad, I miss him every single day and think about all he taught me.  A father’s relationship with his kids is the most important one a child will ever have.  A father teaches his sons how to behave.  How to treat fellow men and how to treat women.  He teaches his daughters how to behave, what’s not acceptable to wear, and what kind of treatment they should accept from men.  He teaches not just by word, admonishment, lecture, punishment, and reward.  He teaches by example.  Talk is cheap.  The deeds must match the talk.

My dad not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.  We always knew he loved and cared about us and our well-being. I learned so much from him–about sacrifice, about doing the right thing, about standing up for what you believe in even when everyone else around you is going with the flow and even mocking you for speaking out.  He taught me about principle, critical thinking, reading between the lines, and valuing people by their values and conduct, not their fame and fortune.  My dad taught me the importance of G-d, country, and family.  He taught me history and education, the importance of being informed and digging deeper.  My dad taught me the importance of American patriotism and serving the country, as he did in the U.S. Army during Vietnam.  Dad taught me to be a proud American and a proud Jew.  You can read more about my amazing father, H. L. Schlussel, MD–a unique and rare father and person–in my eulogy for him, which I delivered at his funeral.

When I look around with about half of America’s kids now being born out of wedlock, with the right now mimicking the left in embracing and exalting single mothers like Bristol Palin because they came out of the right vagina and had something come out of theirs without a husband and father to help raise it, I realize more and more every day how lucky I was to have such a great dad in my life. We know that kids who don’t have fathers in their lives are less likely to do well in school, more likely to do drugs, commit crime, have sex at a younger age, and drop out of school. In short, the odds are against those without dads, despite the dopey way they are portrayed in the media and entertainment. And good fathers are the ultimate national security.

My father tried his best and then some to raise us as happy, productive, responsible kids.  He sacrificed his own medical practice to be with us more and see less patients.  He also sacrificed money to see his patients longer and counsel them more.  If he had a patient who was sick at home, he still made house calls, something completely anachronistic.  He gave free medical care to Vietnam veterans for decades because he was so upset by how they were treated after the war.  If a patient was poor and didn’t have government coverage through Medicaid or Medicare, he treated them for free.  He didn’t just teach us how to help the less fortunate and treat people with respect.  He did it by example.  My father wasn’t a rich man financially.  But he was rich in every other way and through him, we were, too.



Me and My Dad

I’m occasionally asked by Palinmessiah followers why it’s important for mothers to be there for their kids when I say that a father’s relationship with his kids is far more important.  That’s because we need fathers who are fathers to their kids, not fathers like Todd Palin and the other Mr. Moms around the country who are mothers to their children and give the alpha male role to their feminist wives and womb donors to their kids.  I’m lucky.  My father put his foot down when my mother wanted to run a business.  He knew that a successful business takes its own parent.  You cannot be mother to both your kids and your business … or your political career.  Something–rather, someone–always has to suffer.  And it’s always the kids, who are, indeed, regarded as something and not someone by feminist moms who have taken the Gloria Steinem oath of how to destroy your family with a career. Sarah Palin told Oprah that Bristol doesn’t need a man in her life. Um, tell that to the kid with the pretentious name and no father around, Tripp.

My father–like fewer and fewer American men–knew that Mr. Moms are not fathers to their kids.  Their male and female children learn the wrong message–not how to be a man or how to be treated by one, but, rather, how to favor masculine, alpha male women and stay home with disrespected feminized Mr. Mom men–not a good thing.

My dad was against the weakening of America, whether through the feminist movement and women’s lib, the glamorizing unwed mothers, the porn industry that Hugh Hefner created, left-wing politics, the attack on religion, and other ideological concepts that have unfortunately succeeded slowly but surely in breaking down the American family, the American culture, and America as a nation.

I am glad my father isn’t around to see how much America has declined further in just the four years since his death.  But I wish I had my father around for just a few more years.  It is never enough–there has never been enough time, when you have a great father like I had, and he passes away.  But like most who had a good dad, I remember him every day and think about what he would say when I made a certain move or decision, how he would advise me.  His impression on me is forever, and though he is gone from this earth physically, he is with me every moment.

Dad, I miss you so much.  Happy Father’s Day.

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26 Responses

Very touching and astute post, Debbie. I’m sure your dad was very proud of you and the woman you turned out to be.

DS_ROCKS! on June 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm

When i read this Debbie, I was thinking perhaps maybe many years later, that’s if the world is still there or still sane. I could do something similar for my pops in honor of a great dad. Everything you said in this post is so true for every generation of mankind and what your dad did to mold you to the woman you are today is definitely a huge part through G_D’s grace ,A Kid always needs a Good dad to guide us and i guess discipline us if necessary. You and I were lucky, wish many more kids get that same kind of blessing. I hope your dad is at Shalom now 🙂 wherever he is. Great Post Debbie, One of your best for sure!

John B. Martyn on June 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    My father is still with me and my mom in spirit and I’ve never thought that death is the end of our family. I believe in the immortal soul and this life is but one stage of that journey as Shakespeare aptly put it, goes through that “undiscovered country.” Its not over when we die and I’ve seen and felt too much in this world to be convinced that there is not something greater awaiting us – and with all the mysteries of heaven and earth, there is much more to dreamt of.

    NormanF on June 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm

My dad was a WWII Jarhead in the South Pacific. We had some great times and I miss him too..know what ya mean Deb

#1 Vato on June 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Its Father’s Day every day of the year. I miss my father and I wish he was still around. But I remember all the lessons he imparted to me that will always remain with me as long as I’m alive.

We must never forget the role fathers play in our lives. I was so fortunate to have my Dad for so long. We live in a time when that seems increasingly passe.

No matriarchy has ever survived. The statistics are grim but the stories of every family that has had a loving and stable father continue to inspire us. That’s what Debbie’s, mine and stories from millions of people continue to do.

May the memory of my Dad, Yitzhak Leon Birnberg, be for an eternal blessing!

NormanF on June 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

What a great dad, and an isnpiration to me.

Occam's Tool on June 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm

There’s the focus on boys without fathers (or at least a positive male role model) and their dysfunctional upbringings, but it very much affects girls, too. Fatherless women, in my experience, often tend to harbor resentment towards men, and that leads to dysfunctional romantic relationships as well as attitude problems. They hate it when men seem to tell them what to do, because they never had a father to lay down rules and probably hated their mom’s boyfriend(s).

Denoted on June 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm

God bless your incredible Dad, DS. My heart just soars when I read your tribute to him because it proves that God does make incredible men with character, values, morals and strong beliefs…and that men are NOT just animalistic as some self-serving jerky ones say as they sow their wild oats and are beholden to nature alone as many Liberals would have us think.

Because of your Dad and what he has taught you, YOU have found your calling and are unflinching when you have many people portraying you as you are NOT. THAT is hard to do and you still stay strong with your mission steadily in your sights…those idiots on the wrong side better understand that they can’t keep you down. You had an incredible family situation that gives you the preternatural strength you need to do the hard job you’re doing.

I lost my Dad last year, too. Two weeks before Father’s Day. Daddy, I love and miss you FOREVER!

Skunky on June 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm

A day like today is an extra reminder of the loss of my daughter by the time she reached 13. I tried my best to be a good father to her, but despite my best efforts, or maybe because of them, we grew estranged. I haven’t talked to her since she disowned me in 2000 when she turned 18. She has since married, and is now almost 29 years old. When I read of what a good man Debbie’s father was, it makes me much more aware of my failings. I can only wonder what she says to her husband on a day like today.

Dr Dale on June 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Speaking of fathers: Mel Gibson is now dating a bondage fetish model. Way to show good male skills to your sons, Mel!

Occam's Tool on June 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Dr. Dale, I hope you and your daughter find each other again and soon.

    OT, that Mel Gibson is a study (and a disturbing one at that!) of someone who was given so much by God and in the end threw it all away and just went hog-wild doing what he should NOT be doing.

    I used to adore him. And his lofty fall came AFTER his “The Passion Of The Christ” movie, too. I do suspect he was a raging hypocrite even before that but it’s a stunning fall at a curious time. He is the reason so many Leftists (and sometimes rightfully) dismiss religious people…and Christians the most… as fools and hypocrites.

    And to find out after all those years he’s an anti-semite was gutting. He will be humbled before God…and he so deserves it. My adoration of him is long over. Very disappointing.

    Skunky on June 20, 2011 at 12:15 am

Greetings, Deb….
My heart goes out to you. I, too, lost my father/soldier/patriot this past January. Your words are a comfort to read. You are so right, “he taught his son’s how to behave” is spot on. Because of his example, I will be celebrating my 33rd wedding anniversary next month. My folks were married for 63 years.

Jesus is my Lord and savior. I pray for my kindred brothers and sisters in Isreal everyday.

Stay true to your calling, Deb.

Joseph J. Lopez on June 20, 2011 at 6:41 am

Your father was a true mensch. May he rest in peace, as well as my own father.

bobkat on June 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

    He was a Uber Mensch.

    Dr Dale on June 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

Not to minimize your hurt in even the smallest amount, but (and not knowing your position on Jonathan Pollard) just think how he now feels that his father passed without him being able to see him one last time, due to our heartless and agreement-breaking government.
I’ve already conveyed my feelings to the White House via fax.

Steve Katz on June 20, 2011 at 9:42 am

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your Dad. I had tears in my eyes as I read and felt your love for him. He was a great person and friend.

lillian on June 20, 2011 at 9:43 am

Good for you, Deb. My parents are/were Italian Americans (Dad died in ’93, and is still with me) Both parents lived out their roles with dignity…No life lectures–No ‘I Love yous’ (That was understood); but no tramp stamps, ear buttons, nose piercings, hair tinting..none of Dad bragging to his sons about past ‘conquests’, and none of Mom talking to girlfriends about past “relationships.” They were boyfriend and girlfriend throughout high school and married shortly after WWII. They were always proud of their three sons (when we deserved it), but never effusively. What they gave us, more than any of the Dr. Spockish, step by step correct parenting crap, was example. They lived their lives with simple dignity. My father was a local legend of a child and high school athlete, and wherever I went in my hometown NY borough, my name was known, bordering on household word. But what brought me the most pride was the day I was out fishing and a man next to me recognized me, from where I don’t know. “You’re (my name), aren’t you?”….”Yes”….”Ya know, you’ve probably heard a lot about what a great athlete your dad was; but what I admired him the most for was the man that he was. I don’t know how much you’d heard that.” And, in truth, as much as I appreciated what this gentleman had to say, I hadn’t heard that–but, didn’t need to. I already knew it. Thomas Paine warns us to ‘keep things simple–that way they’re much easier to correct’. Happy Fathers Day.

shegundala on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

Whatta surprise!

Thursday, April 9, 2009 8:04 p.m.
Law School adjunct professor to lead ATF
by Nat Grossman
Kenneth E. Melson, an adjunct professor in the GW Law School, has been named the acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.

In a news release, Attorney General Eric Holder called Melson a “dedicated public servant” and “extremely capable and experienced.”

Since 2007, Melson has been the director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, and has held positions in various state and federal agencies for over 30 years. At the ATF, he will lead an agency with more than 4,500 employees and a $1 billion operating budget. Melson’s move to ATF was part of a series of personnel changes by Holder.

In addition to being an adjunct professor, Melson is also an alumnus, having received his J.D. from the law school in 1973.

Bill C. on June 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

If you hadn’t written a single word Debbie, all we need to see is the picture in the middle where your dad is holding a mic. If that is you looking at your dad, the look in your eyes tells us everything of what your dad was and where he rated with you.

CACTUSJACK on June 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I saw a comment recently I don’t think I had thought of it this way “Children learn what they live”. I think you are proof of that having had a remarkable dad.

Joel C on June 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Dear Debbie,
I don’t remember the last time I read a story about a girl who idolized her father until the day he died. It’s a good story. I would love to have that kind of relationship with my father. I would love to have a father with decent values who works for worthy causes.

I have to say that I don’t agree that all dads have to make the money and all moms have to be available for their kids with no distractions. I don’t know if you are married or have children, Debbie, but please don’t give up what you do. This is a different world from when you were a child and some guys are great at being the primary parent now that it is acceptable. I am a lab animal veterinarian (more money) and my husband has a home improvement business (less money). We are both available for our children and we share that responsibility the way it works out best for our schedules.

All of us have benefited from your father’s contributions to America, to the Jewish world, and to humankind in general. I can’t thank him, so I’ll thank you.

Jenny on June 20, 2011 at 11:16 pm


I LOVED your posting about your father – I’ve told you a lot about my Dad so it was wonderful to read about yours. I can see where you got your guts, your political grounding, your common sense and your Ahavat Yisrael. He sounded like a wonderful, sensible, sensitive (in strong way) man – a true MENSCH in the finest sense of the word! I hope your father and my father have come to know each other in Hashamayim – they would hit it off famously!!

Very best,


Phil Raimi on June 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Bless you, Debbie.
Your Father would have been proud of you….

Shootist on June 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

Dr Dale,
I sincerely hope that you make an effort to let your daughter know you love her and miss her. If even a card in the mail. No matter what happened, it will mean something to her if you make an effort. It is never too late, until you have lost them physically and life is precious. Both my parents are gone and thankfully my last words were of love to both. Daughters, no matter how stubborn, immature, etc. always want to know their Dad loves and thinks about them. I hope you will take action and good luck if you do.

CJ on June 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

“-there has never been enough time, when you have a great father like I had, and he passes away.”

That goes both ways. My father was not like yours, but I miss him a lot and I’m sorry we didn’t have more time together to “fix” our relationship.

Kerry B. on June 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Father’s Day is always a little hard for me.
My father deserted my mother with seven children when I was in first grade. I literally have almost no memory of him. My younger siblings have none at all. He was a career Air Force man that was overseas most of the time.
And when he was stat-side he was much more interested in partying than spending time with his kids.
I never got a phone call or birthday present, ever.
After becoming a Christian in my early teens I was dedicated to being the man father never was.
All three of my fast becoming adult children were conceived in wedlock. That part was pretty easy since we waited until after we were married to have sex.
I’ve tried so hard to model the things I never had modeled for me growing up. Adult men were a complete mystery to me. I had some older friends that I looked up to and emulated, but having a father like Debbie’s would have been of infinite value.
The Bible is very clear about not envying, but I confess to being guilty of envying you Debbie for your relationship with your dad.
I can only pray in years to come my children can have the same adulation for me that you have for your father. They may feel that way now, but it’s hard for kids in their teens and early twenties to express themselves.

Steve on June 23, 2011 at 12:01 am

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