It's Friday April 8, 2011 around 1030a. This time two years ago I was heading to LAX wearing the shirt I had slept in, jeans I found on the floor, and suitcase that had one black heel and the black dress I would wear to your funeral five days later.
I slept with my phone off that night and so I woke up to see several missed calls, a few texts messages and at least two voicemails from mom. Figuring that clearly something had happened, I got up, brushed my teeth, turned on my TV and was about to call mom back when she called again. When I picked up the phone Mom said the four words that changed my life and flipped everything I thought I knew about the world upside down.
Your father is dead.
To protect my families privacy, I won't discuss further details.
So less than an hour later I found myself in my best friends car racing to LAX on a Wednesday morning, so I could catch a plane that was leaving in less than an hour. No question you were already with me, Daddy, because anyone who has ever left from LAX knows, you need a good five hours before your flight even leaves to be sure you'll make it.
I went from my apartment to my gate in under 90 minutes.
That was April 8, 2009.
Today I sit in my apartment, no longer living in Los Angeles, with my three legged dog, writing a blog that mostly strangers will read, in an exercise in healing.
I hope you can read this where you are now, Dad. I wanted to let you know that I'm doing alright. Mom is doing good. Bronx (my dog) has helped bring me back to life and helped me to learn to open my heart again. I know, I have a dog! You would love him. Actually he would LOVE you. I don't there was ever an animal that wasn't drawn to you and your spirit. In caring for Bronx I've learned the challenges of being responsible for another life. In "raising" Bronx, I reminded every day of how you and Mom were the BEST parents. I never wanted for anything growing up, and not just "things". I was truly blessed to know that I meant everything to both you and Mom. I was your world. With your passing I realized you both are mine.
I was surprised (and still am) how I can literally feel that part of me is gone. But I've learned that the physical is gone. But you are around everywhere.
I spoke at your funeral. I talked about you talking me to Yankees games, how my passion for theatre is a direct result of your passion for theatre and music. But the think that was most important for me to share with everyone there was, that I would be ok.
I had planned to call you Wednesday morning. I don't think I'd talk to you in a week or so. For the first few hours that really bothered me. I didn't get the chance to say goodbye, I didn't tell Dad I loved him one last time and on and on. Then I realized I could release myself from that bondage. I knew, with every fiber of my being that you loved me and more importantly for me, I knew you knew that I loved you so much. That thought still brings tears, but they are tears of comfort. I know I'm "lucky". I don't have guilt that I didn't get to say everything I needed to. You and Mom raised me in a house of Love. There was NEVER any doubt that I knew my parents loved me and supported me in anything I ever wanted to do. That is what I wanted to share at your service. That you lived your life in Love.
I hope you're having fun up there. I know you had the best seats in the house to catch our Yankees win in 2009. So far we're looking good in 2011, but I don't have to tell you that. I wanted to get to Boston to see our Yankees play the BoSox this weekend, but plane tickets are no joke! So I settled on going to see the Astros tomorrow. I have great seats, but I know no matter what you will forever have the best seats in the house.
I love you, Daddy.