I find myself asking that question over and over. Sometimes in my head, more often a loud…
Where are you now, pop?
It’s a cruel trick, I say, if this is all there is. If we live, die, the end. Blackout. A cruel trick if we never see our loved ones again. So, I have to believe, I want to believe that there is something after this. Someplace. Somewhere we all meet up again. Because I can’t accept that I will never hear my father’s voice, see his face, hold his hand, laugh and cry with him again. No, simply unacceptable.
So, where are you now, pop? Are you okay? Is it beautiful and peaceful where you are? Can you see me? See all of us? Did you see the outpouring of love at the news of your passing? Were you with us in the street at the dimming of the lights on Broadway in your honor? Did you see us gather at Sardi’s under your picture? Hugging, crying, telling stories?
We’re here, pop. And we miss you. Terribly. You were a necessary person here, as your dear friend Mary said to me. A necessary person. You made everyone feel special because you thought everyone was special. From your closest friends to the numerous doormen all down West End Avenue… everyone counted. Everyone. And now everyone is grieving. Everyone feels the empty space you left.
Where are you now, pop? Are you with your friends? Have you run into your mom? Are you walking at that incredibly brisk New York pace of yours giving that sweet, humble nod to the faces who recognize you but don’t know from where?
The tears keep coming. Sometimes we all fall apart at once. Other times we take turns holding each other up. And once in a while we burst out laughing at a memory that you gave us.
And then that moment is gone because the reality of you being gone kicks in again. Punching us in the gut and knocking the wind out of us.
I always told you that I loved you in every one of our conversations. I never ended a phone call or a visit without telling you how grateful I am to be your daughter. In our entire life together we only had one fight and I even got to thank you for it because it made me a better person. Stronger person. Wiser person. Our relationship was clean. Nothing left unsaid… only that I would’ve loved to have said more of it for another twenty, thirty, forty years.
We’re going to take care of your sweetheart, pop, you need not worry about that. You two have the best love story I have ever known and for over forty years she has been by your side and been our second mom and we plan to drive her crazy with our daily calls and visits to New York.
You need not worry…
So, pop, if you’re listening and I have to believe you are… I love you. And I miss you. And I thank you for living your life the way you did. Never bored, always humble, generous and kind. And always, always doing that McMartin thang so perfectly.
Until I see you again… xo