Is This Thing Working?



Final Letter To Pops


There’s so many things I want to tell you that I’ve tried to say over the years in cards or even short letters to you and Mom, but not sure I got them right.

First of all, I want you to know that I have faith that you will beat this. You are strong-willed, stubborn and a fighter….you won’t let IT win! IT has beaten you down a bit, but you’ve got this. You are #RotellaStrong!

Pops, what I really want you to know is how much the time we had over the last 52+ years has meant to me. It’s not lost on me how lucky I am to have such a great man as my father. I know I wasn’t always the perfect son. I made my mistakes, but I hope in some way, I made you proud. You were always there for us and gave your love unselfishly.  I am certain that we took advantage of your selflessness over the years - not purposely - but you and Mom gave so much of yourselves that we came to expect that you would always be there for us. Whether it was to watch Evan, or Rusty, to bail me out of trouble, to keep score at our ball games, pick up Evan from school, take him for haircuts, make sure Anna had her Saturday morning flyers, drop by lunch to my office, or to watch the house while we were away, you did it willingly.  So, thank you and Mom for all of that and more!

I have always said that you set the bar very high for fatherhood. You haven’t just been our Dad, you’ve been our friend, our mentor…but mostly our hero. It’s funny you brought us up in a world of sports and music and I had a bunch of heroes in both – Tony Esposito, Roger Staubach, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon – but my true hero…our true hero, is you. Hands down! The way you lived your life. The way you took care of Mom, me, Phil, your grandkids, your Mom, your sisters and brother, your mother-in-law and everyone that needed you…you have been there for us all. Thank you.

I want you to know that as a father you are, and have been truly amazing, just as you were a son, a husband, grandfather and brother!  Evan always said, “Grandpa is so cool. I love Grandpa” and “my friends love Grandpa”. I guess they all saw in you what we have always seen. My friends thought the same. It was a common theme that permeated our lives. It has been great being Dave Sr.’s son!

I don’t think I have the time to type all of things that I learned from you, but thing thing I learned most was how to be a good father. Or in your case, great father. I once said if I could be half the father as my father has been to me…then I’d be doing okay.

Growing up, I used to think that some of my friends were so rich, because they had bigger houses or newer cars. But it was easy to see as I got older that it was us who were rich. We had the house everyone wanted to come to and hang out in….and occasionally sleep in! They all loved you guys. You and Mom made our house a home. You gave us the most important thing and that was love. We always felt loved. Still do!

The other day I was at a funeral home and a lady from your 8:30 Mass stopped to ask me how you were doing. She proceeded to say that you were such an amazing man and she just thought the world of you. This has happened to me my entire life. People always tell me how great you and Mom are. You know what they say “a million Elvis Presley fans can’t be all wrong”!

Pops, I don’t know what lies ahead, but whatever  happens I want you to know how much we love you. Anna, Evan and I. Phil and Madison. You and Mom are two of the most selfless, caring, kind people in the world. You give so much and ask so little. No words will ever be able to encapsulate the love and admiration we have for you.

As that lady from your 8:30 mass said to me, your father is a wonderful man, he has created a legacy. She’s right. You are so well respected. Your legacy is your reputation as a “great guy”, an amazing family man, someone who would give you the shirt off his back, a man of God, always smiling, always laughing. When they made you Dad, they broke the mould!

As Jackson Browne once said “Nothing survives, but the way we live our lives” …and that, Pops, is your true legacy!

I love you more than words can say.
Thanks for being my Pops!

Love Ningy
(and on behalf of “B”)