I want you to know that I can’t be there with you this Christmas because in my heart, the reality of losing you is far too much like losing my dad all over again.
My absence this Christmas should send no message to anyone other than to serve as an indication of my cowardice, but I’m far braver when I write, so please allow me to be brave, and candid, with you now.
Next to Harry O’Brien, you are the kindest, sweetest man I’ve ever known. Although at first I know this was not an easy thing for you to do, you accepted me into your family 30 years ago. Now, 30 years later, I believe you know in your heart how much I love and am committed to Rosemary, and to all of you.
Even before Row and I were married, you were always kind and generous, Ray, always my second-father.
Thank you for sharing yourself all these years and for your abiding patience with me. Thank you also for the father you’ve been to your children, the husband you’ve been to your wife, the friend you’ve been to my folks, and the second-father you’ve been to me and my sisters.
The world will only be a sorrier place without you, but let me assure you that it has been a good and wonderful place with you. Please know this. Please know you’re a good and wonderful man, Ray, by anyone’s measure.
And please know, please believe, that good and wonderful men should have no fear of anything… of anything.
In closing, please don’t worry about your family, Ray: I’ll help however I can.
Knowing you has been my privilege, a real and true honor, and I love you far more than I can ever express. I hope you know this by now.
Always affectionately, always lovingly, always respectfully, your son-in-law,