Dear Hirshel, עמו"ש
As you now know, I just recently ‘got up’ from shiva, and I am still within the shloshim. I apologize for my inability to schmooze with you when you came to be מנחם אבל, I'm sure that you realized that there were other visitors who had to be "entertained" and acknowledged. Be that as it may, I would like to briefly write to you some of the things I wish I could have told you during shiva.
When the phone rang at that hour, I immediately knew why they were calling. My father has been sick for some time now, and I was not surprised. Of course, that didn't abrogate the overwhelming numbness that gripped me when those dreaded words were uttered: “we are having a levayah.” I quickly drove over to the hospital and met some of my family members as well as a local tzadik who was assisting in all of the arrangements. Slowly, I walked into the room where my father lay. I did not look at where his face was although I knew that he was covered by a white sheet. Peculiarly, I noticed his feet sticking out from beneath the sheets, covered by the socks that he would wear.
I did not get to close to the bed. I spoke to father in a way that I never spoke to him before. As my voice was chocked with emotions, I spoke to father words that have been on my mind for a long time, yet have never been vocalized: "father, you merited to go to yeshiva against all odds. You even learned in yeshiva post-marriage, despite great opposition from family and others. You continued to be the only one in your family to be a shomer תו"מ, something you accomplished without familial support. And look at the family you raised! All of them frum, all of your descendants have learned in yeshivos and many continue to do so! father, this is in your merit and this merit should escort you in the real world. This was this gist of what I told my father; words that came from somewhere deep within me.
Looking back, what else should I have said?