My Dearest Lucille,
Are they treating you nicely up there? I wish I knew what happened after everything is over down here. I wish I could look up and see your pretty smile staring back at me, saying that you're happy, that everything is okay, that everything will always be okay.
Well, let's not talk about your death. Let's not talk about death at all. Why don't we talk about life? Yours, to be specific. It was one hell of a life you've lived, Lucy. You left this earth with the certainty that you did everything you had to do. You had regrets, surely you did, but doesn't everybody? I hope that you found it in your heart of steel and gold to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. Because trust me, Lucy, as someone looking from the outside, your rights outdid your wrongs by so far that you would never believe it.
You were unique. It wasn't just plain talent, even though if you were any more talented it would have to start oozing out of your pores since there's no space for any more brilliance inside you. There was something in those big, darling blue eyes. No one has ever been able to put a finger on what it was, and I don't think anyone ever will, but I have a humble guess.
It was love.
It was love that fueled you every day, my Lucy. It was your love for your craft, your love for your co-stars, your love for yourself and your love for your fans. So enormous, so strong, so devastating was your love that we could not help but love you back. Just by looking at you we can feel your heart beating fast and the magic that endlessly and effortlessly emanates from you. I'm sure there's no way to appoint who was the most successful performer in history, or the best performer in history, or the most influential performer in history. But the one thing you have that cannot be compared is that unanimous love. You were the most beloved performer of the twentieth century, and perhaps in the history of the world. We love you so much, Lucille. And don't you dare doubt it for a second.
I love seeing you make faces, sounds and dances, I love being cracked up by you on the screen, I love being reminded that life can be so damn fun, that something so simple can bring so much happiness. But, you know what I love the most? I love seeing you, Lucille, come out to the stage at a game or chat show. The screams from the audience are deafening, the claps seem to be everlasting. The flashing lights reflect in your eyes, and your face and your crystal clear smile. You are immaculate, walking step after step, your hair moving so lightly and the small gush of wind gently hitting your face. You look at the audience in awe. It's all for you and you can't believe it. All these people, they're there to give their hearts to you completely. You gave them everything you had and, in return, they gave you their love. That's all you ever wanted.
You gave them a smile and every muscle in your body felt like burning to a crisp. You were always so shy, Lucy. 20 years in Hollywood and it was always something. You weren't right for this, too tall for that, too beautiful for whatever it was. Why couldn't they see what everyone else saw in you? They didn't want to see it if it was written across your forehead. They had other plans. Their loss.
But you pushed through, didn't you, Luce? What was yours was coming and you had an unshakable faith in that. A faith that I so admire and envy in you. Television was the throne for a red-headed queen. No one needed to know about the henna rinse if your name was shining bright in gold and silver, like you always wanted. All that with the man you love smiling approvingly next to you. He loves you so much. He loved you all the while. He had something irresistible inside him, but he was glad to let you shine. You were the perfect match, and it was never just a title.
And yet you couldn't believe it. Me, the queen of B movies and cameo roles, kicked out of acting school, discouraged by Hollywood elite, me? I am the queen of television? It's me they love?
You better believe it now, Luce. Because it's been one hundred and one years. And we're still standing strong. There's millions of us now. Millions who want to hug you and kiss you happy birthday, but can't. Millions who want to tell you how much you've meant to them. Millions who were born in the world you made a better place. Millions who wished they could thank you.
So I thank you, Lucille Desirée Ball.
Thank you for bringing into this world what no one else could bring. And rest in peace.
P.S. Say holla to Desi for me, will you?