You came to us when we were so young.
You made us laugh, and sometimes you made us cry.
It took us a long time, some of us, to accept you.
Our father died, leaving us alone.
Alone with a mother who was devastated, with all her children.
In time, we heard her sing again, "I'm as happy as a baby in the springtime", echoed in the kitchen as she went about her work.
You took on all eight of us, with your love for our mother as your only guide.
The day we moved to Springfield Ave., the hoagies, the painting, Sissy's wedding shortly afterwards.
The time you drove Helen and I back to visit the project when you knew I was missing it.
The endless scrapes you and mom watched us go through, and you were there.
The death of Annie's son. Seeing mom's tears for her daughter. The times we never even knew about, that you shared with your wife, our mother.
You were always there for us. Trying to be a father the best way you knew how. Helping mom and us through Billy's death.
Yes, we had a father once, but you became our "POP".
I am sure he would have wanted us to be taken care of by you. After all, mom sang again.
The pain you went through trying to keep mom home as long as you could. The lonliness you suffered as you woke up to an empty apartment. Losing your best friend. So much pain. Being there for us, when we needed a place to stop for a pepsi, our only link to home. Waiting for that 7 o'clock lottery with Fred, helping us to continue to celebrate the holidays together. Georgie, Helen, Sissy, Annie, all of us always knew that we could come and be together. Letting John live with you this past year and just hanging out whenever any of us felt lonely. Yes, we laughed, and we cried, and we carried on. All of us, and you were there, to see us through. Finally, your own illness, how you tried to cover it up from all of us.
Somehow you knew that one day you would be saying goodbye. Somehow you knew that there would be no more hoagies, steaks, strombolis, Chinese food.
All the things you couldn't say, came out through your eyes. Even on your last day, you wouldn't go until you got the ok from The Boss.
The unspoken words. She was loved. We were loved.
And that last Friday when we visited you in the hospital, saying funny things, making us laugh, and your own squeaky laugh, almost as if you had accepted the fact that you would no longer be with us. And then, your final words, "I love you all".
We will each be taking a part of you with us, along with our own personal memories of times spent with you.
Yes, Eddie, you certainly earned the title "Pop".
We miss you and love you.