The Full Open Letter To Debbie Tay that Howard
partially read on the air, Wednesday, July 19, 1995, and on Friday's (8/11)
E! TV show, that was written to Debbie Tay after her death by her dear friend,
Chaunce from Steppin' Out Magazine.
I received the news today that you died. I keep hoping that it's not true,
that any moment the phone will ring and it will be your voice on the other
end asking how I'm doing in that distinct heartwarming way of yours. But
as each minute passes and the phone sits in silence I'm forced to accept
the realization that I've lost my best friend forever.
I won't ask why Debbie, because God knows we discussed that issue enough
over the past year to fill a book, but I do need to tell you a couple of
things before I can let you go. First you need to know that my heart is
badly broken. Even as I write this letter to you the tears in my eyes are
making it nearly impossible to continue. You were the most important person
in my life and I don't know how I will ever replace you. There is no replacing
you, only remembering. And although the memories are many, I don't know
if memories are enough to bandage the deep sense of loss that I'm so horribly
feeling and will no doubt feel for some time.
I can tell you with the utmost confidence that you were the most loved
human being I have ever known. Your smile and unique personality captured
and held hostage all who were fortunate enough to have entered into your
life. We who knew you were the lucky ones. How sad for those who never had
the opportunity to speak with you or to feel your warm spirit. Personally,
I'm grateful that fate bestowed on me the gift of knowing you and experiencing
your unconditional love and affection.
So tell me, is your pain over and are you happy? I wish I knew for sure
so I could feel at ease. I still worry about you; I guess it's just force
of habit. Just like how you would always worry about me. It's not easy to
love a hypochondriac but you somehow found it in you and for that alone
I thank you. By the way, Debbie, just because you are no longer here don't
think I'm going to stop complaining to you. In fact, I'll probably complain
to you more than ever. Call it Chaunce's revenge... I can almost hear you
Nobody laughed like you. Sometimes it was almost embarrassing but it
was that priceless gift of laughter that made you a star in so many people's
eyes. And right now I would give all that I own just to hear one more time
that distinct, loud burst of laughter that was such a wonderful part of
you. God, could you laugh. If there is one thing about you that will always
stand out in my mind about you it will be that damn laugh of yours. Besides
your sense of humor, I would say what impressed me most about you was the
way you would treat everyone as equals. You were so cool and New York City
hip; you practically owned Avenue A; but yet your friends were a mixture
of punk rockers, models, the mentally challenged, tattooed bad boys, homosexuals,
suits, housewives, junkies and celebrities, not too mention boring regular
folks like myself. It didn't matter to you what a person looked like, it
was what was inside that attracted you. That to me was the best thing about
you. You truly loved people for who they were. In a cruel and merciless
world such as ours it's of little wonder that you had to die so young. Your
powerful and loving personality was a lethal weapon against vexations of
Oh Debbie, what I wouldn't do right now to be back in Jamaica with you,
lying on the snow white beach, drinking coconut milk against the ocean breeze,
talking about our lives, both past, present, and the future, and of course,
things that I'm afraid of (which as you know there are many). We enjoyed
each others company so much. Remember how we both had the same taste in
women? I confess sometimes that was a bit tiresome simply because between
the two of us it would be you who would always end up getting the girl.
I could never compete with you in that department. Your last living words
to me were "I love you Chaunce," playfully I refused to say "I
love you" back. I knew I didn't have to, but somehow I wish I had.
I wish I had said it a thousand times. I love you Debbie. You must know
that you affected every aspect of my life. It may come as a surprise to
you but all the while that I cared for you during the last troubled months
of your life in reality it was actually I who became dependent on you and
oddly enough I'm still dependent on you. What will I ever do without you?
Therefore, please explain to me how could you leave so quickly and suddenly
without even saying good-bye. Not even a simple fucking note. Just gone.
Debbie, I know that you didn't believe in God in the conventional sense,
but you had more faith in the basic spirituality of life than anybody I've
ever known or for that matter, will ever know. For that reason I truly believe
that you are safe and in good hands. I know that I need not worry about
you any more. You are at peace. And although I won't see you again in this
life, you will live inside my aching heart forever.
I love you Miss Debbie Tay. You don't have to say it back because I
know the feeling is very mutual.
Good-bye my dearest friend,
*Please send donations in Debbie's name to:
Lower East Side Reduction Center, 223 East 2nd Street New York, NY 10009
Attn: Mark Gillian.
The newsletter instigated the farewell letter
segment when it faxed a copy of the letter to Robin. According to Chaunce,
she was laughing wildly out loud while reading the fax during the commercial
break. Chaunce realized what it was when he saw my logo shining through
the window in Robin's booth. At that point, she told Howard that he had
to see this letter and the rest was radio and TV magic.
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