Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The Accidental Thanatologist
That is my dear friend Jody and her daughter Lueza. Jody was the first friend I made after Sophie was diagnosed with infantile spasms in 1995 in New York City. Jody's daughter Lueza was only a few months older than Sophie, and she, too, had been diagnosed with infantile spasms and severe cerebral palsy. Jody and I walked the city streets with our girls in carriages and strollers. We placed our babies next to one another in cribs, played music for them, held them and one another. We went to a mothers support group at the hospital on the east side. We despaired and we exulted and we laughed with rue about our new lives. Jody sent me a subscription to a newsletter in those pre-Internet days -- it was called Mothers From Hell -- and was obviously geared toward our sort. Dark, funny, dramatic, despairing and resilient. We both moved to California, her to the north and me the south. We had more babies, she a daughter and me, two sons. We had long spaces and distances but stayed friends, talked for hours and hours on the phone, laughed more often than cried, loved one another and our beautiful daughters and sons.
Lueza died unexpectedly on April 4, 2011. I was driving up Fairfax, crossing Beverly Blvd when I heard from Jody, and I took a sharp right into a bank parking lot, drove down the ramp into darkness, sat in my car and wailed for a half an hour. Whenever I pass that corner, that bank, that ramp into darkness, I think of Lueza and her tremendous light.
Jody is an immensely talented actor, singer and writer. She is adding pieces to her blog, The Accidental Thanatologist, that you must read. It is, as she says, a walk through love and catastrophe.
I love you, Jody and am grateful for your constancy. And your writing is smashing.