May 27, 1924- Feb 20, 2005
“I thoroughly expect in the next few moments to turn into a complete mess. Everybody here has lost somebody they loved. Before I crack up, I need to thank you all for your love, support and for coming to honor my father, Jerome D. Silberstein: lawyer, musician, writer, artist, sometime philosopher, husband and daddy.
(At this point I went hysterical and my friend Chris Calnek took over my speech)
“Here we are on Avenue H in Brooklyn on the block where I was conceived. The beginning and the end and the eternal. I did not pick this funeral home, but as synchronicity would have it, here we are. My friend Ali Marcus, a writer at Star Magazine, said daddy was likened to Benjamin Franklin, a great man capable of several things. But his greatest achievement was not all the cases he won, or the children’s novel he wrote called “Amy” about a girl with magical powers, or his art, or his music, but it was being my daddy. When I was a very little girl, he decided to raise me for better or for worse. I ended up alright.
Ours was a special relationship filled with passion for life, love and art. My dad had so much passion that anyone who ever met him was blown away. He was charming and handsome and well versed on everything. A renaissance man, if you will and all of this I guess rubbed off on me. I mean, only Jerry Silberstein’s little girl could grow up and ever have a mind to invent things like cartoon characters: The Sqrat, design feathered hats, run for Mayor of New York City; it’s a long list. We may not have always seen eye to eye on my artistic expressions, but artists never do.
“I understand now that he was being critical as artists and, yes, lawyers often are. Dad would beg me to come home if I left the State of New York. I resented him because I felt he was trying to control me. Now I realize that he needed me to be close to him, his only daughter, his only child. And even though he criticized me for my artistic expression, he supported me in other ways by allowing me to live my life the way I wanted to, on my terms, but not without his criticisms. I realize now, he was challenging me every step of the way to be a better artist, a better daughter, a better human being.
“I graduated from the Jerry Silberstein Boot Camp. He forced me to learn survival. How to be fearless. How to master everything I do. His strength lives on in me. Daddy reached over to me while in his hospital bed and said, “IT’S BEEN A ROCKY ROAD, BUT IT’S BEEN ALL LOVE.” He couldn’t have said it any better.
My daddy was the bravest man I knew. He was a fighter and a warrior and he taught me courage. He was ferocious in protecting Vivian and me. Daddy taught me not to need anything, except for him. The only thing he wanted in the hospital was a Blackberry so he could talk to me. There wasn’t anything he needed besides Vivian and me to be there. I love my daddy more than anything in the world!
“I’ve been sitting at home for the last two days crying out loud, “WHERE ARE YOU DADDY? WHERE ARE YOU DADDY?” We know: humans can not be in all places at all times. Alive, he – WE – were forces of nature. As a free spirit freed from his shell, daddy is now with me 24-7-365. I can’t see him or hear him or physically touch him, but he sees and hears me all the time.
“I had two angels on my back; Mama Supersonic’s mama, Grandma Yetty, and daddy’s mama, Grandma Ray. Now along with daddy’s power behind me, in front of me, surrounding me, I truly am a force to be reckoned with.
“Daddy fought the good fight and went out like a champ. With ten surgeries and more to come, he never once complained of pain. He wanted to leave me showing me strength and what seemed as the invincible dad. He was my Superman. Over the past few years, daddy and I became closer then we ever had before. He stood by my side through one of the most heart-breaking battles in my life, advising me and encouraging me that I should never give up my artistic dreams even though, as usual, we often butted heads. He helped me with my business endeavors and understood my entrepreneurial nature, because it came from him. YOU WILL SURELY BE MISSED, I MISS YOU ALREADY DADDY!
“I would like to thank my second mother Vivian for getting me through the terrible teens. And my sister-in-law Kathy for her guidance and my step-brother Alan for marrying her. And his doctors, Doctor Chen Lo and daddy’s niece, Doctor Alice Green. With their love and care and knowledge and expertise, they saved daddy’s life and gave us 130 days together. I will always cherish those days and last moments we shared.
“All who knew daddy would agree; a sparkling personality and he had a brilliant sense of humor. You know that they say you can never keep a good man down and that is never more true when talking about my dad, Jerome Silberstein. He lived his life to the fullest. At 80 years old, playing tennis, his keyboard, writing and imagining. His favorite thing was writing music and lyrics and playing his keyboards and entertaining for an audience, any audience that would listen, or not. He played tennis every morning and whooped everybody’s ass at 80! Then he’d get on the treadmill for an hour each day. He was a runner and ran four miles a day, every day when I was growing up. He loved being President of his development at his Florida home in Del Ray Beach in Rainberry Bay.
“When I was little, he sketched and painted and was an artist as well as a lawyer. His art hung on the walls in our summer home in Southold. Until one day, the house burnt down and he stopped drawing and took up architecture and designed, rebuilt his pride and joy dream house. His best friend was an artist, Bob Neiman and wife Marcia Neiman. He asked me to write a letter to Marcia and Bob Neiman, but he fell asleep before he could dictate to me, but I knew that he wanted to say good bye, so I called them last night and said good bye from daddy. They shared a lot of good times with daddy. Daddy and Bob were a lot alike; they wore born on the same day and same year. They said to say good bye to a good friend.
“If daddy couldn’t do any of these things on his terms, then life to him wasn’t worth living. I know that he is looking down on me today and smiling. Daddy kicked ass until the day he passed and left that responsibility to me now, his only living legacy. For he is seeing clearly, that he has left his greatest mark on every person he touched, loved and most of all me.”