« Modern Love

Despite The Losses, So Much Gained | With Marsha Stephanie Blake

2019-08-21 | 🔗

When people first come into our lives, it's impossible to know how important they'll become. Leah Keith writes about a man who came to matter a great deal to her in her essay, which is read by Marsha Stephanie Blake ("When They See Us")

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love the pod cast a supported by produced by the island at W B. You are faster. From the New York Times and W B were Boston. This is modern stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host Meghna Chakrabarti when people first come into our lives possible to know how important they'll become Leah. Keith writes about a man who came to matter a great deal to her. Her essay is titled, despite the losses, so much gained by Marsha, Stephanie, Blake who's just been nominated
for an Emmy award for her performance in the Netflix drama. When they see us, dude was a doctor, who wanted to leave medicine we met almost twenty years ago. When why to writing fellowship program at the movie studio, where I was an executive when I Called him with the Good NEWS he jumped up and down and screamed into the phone then he told me, you didn't hear anything after the word except it to me. He said you just like an angel. No one had ever called me an angel. Before months later,
dude moved to LOS Angeles in the beginning of our professional relationship. I would give him notes on his screen place. A personal relationship happened later. I was twenty six year old, black woman. Georgia- and he was a New York italian thirteen years older I don't remember when or why he became a dude, but after the naming, he anointed me Lily short for lil dude from then on. We were those people to each other. Do loved biking, hiking and anything I cooked I loved pilates arctic martinis and anything he wrote. We sang answer we watch movies and debated their merits. We read to each other before falling asleep
our relationship was not an obvious one. Neither of us liked the obvious dude smelled like freshly folded, laundry baked chicken red wine and loaves of bread as they arose in the oven. He said My smile lit up a room. Waiting for success was not easy for dude. Achieving a number one ranking in his Ivy League graduating Class had been effortless compared with selling a screenplay. I tried to explain that in Hollywood. Success, equal talent, plus luck, but he didn't understand- and I couldn't understand why he didn't understand- we argued felt like the beginning of the end for us to do.
Broke up with me before, leaving for the airport to bury his father. The phone call was a sudden to me as his ailing father's death had been to him. I told myself. I had pushed him too hard. I told myself, I wasn't this or that I told myself he just didn't love me as much as I loved him. Eventually time brought on the occasional chicken phone call. To make ends meet dude took an administrative assistant job at a Hollywood studio, it's better than staring into a microscope for hours. He said, Hollywood for him had lost its luster. He was no longer writing, but he also had no interest in returning to medicine. I knew that I, as his marginally successful producer former girlfriend
become a reminder of the only defeat he had ever known. I feigned excitement about his new job. I didn't want to know much about his dating life and he didn't seem curious about my. Calls became less frequent and dinner has happened only at birthdays, but when we were together we laughed ate, drank and sang as we always did. Then we returned to our separate lives. everything changed two years ago when my Arabic, to ring I was awaiting a green light on an animated film. The ring was loud and constant. I called dude. after hearing test, CT, scan and MRI my life. Turned into someone else's movie,
said he would come with me to get the results. I didn't stop him I was found to have a two point: five centimeter acoustic neuroma. and tumor of the nerve connecting the ear to the brain, it occurs about two of every one hundred thousand people, Unbeknown to me, I'd already experience. Fifty percent hearing loss in my right ear and my facial nerve had been engulfed by the tumor. Removing it would be difficult. Half of my face could become paralyzed. yeah this was highly specialized surgery and my doctor said I was blessed The best surgeon was only fifteen minutes away. He Come Michael Jordan of Neurotoxic Gee, I could feel do trying to contain his ex
excitement about meeting his Aramis of the ear and brain gave him permission to geek out. Someone should be happy about something after the appointment with M J dude, and I walk silently once you get my car I broke down. Dude health me. I was scheduled for a translabyrinthine craniotomy. The most conservative approach I would be deaf in one ear if M J was as good as everyone said, I would still have the smile dude at once loved them. We I was producing was going into storyboards boards. During that time didn't I talked on the phone every night until I fell asleep
In my doubting moments, when I asked, if we were doing the right thing, dude would say we have the best surgeon. We chose the right surgery. We will be fine. I liked that he used the word. We In my darkest moments, when I asked if he was Love me. If I lost half my face, he said hell. No deformed people make me nervous. Save lilies face, gets busted dude out. We laughed and then the man whose constant reply to my I love you dude had always been said. I will always love you no matter. What happens here is your medical directive said the hush toned one. On the other side of the table, do that join me at eight hundred and thirty, a dot m at the hospital where I signed in a paperwork to buy a house.
my mother and sister, had flown in and waited outside the door while dude and I handled the grimmest of business. nude women. Allow me to read the medical directive. He turned or to the signing page and places hand over the words sign. He said I did as told, but not before. I turned to him and said: don't. The plug too soon I'd like to become a lifetime movie. He smiled and nodded. That was always said about the fact that I could die that day. My mother called dude, her son and my sister Her to him as her brother from another mother, we had become an unconventional family. Who ordered a pizza pie were the first words I heard from dude? Has he entered my hospital room? The next day carry
my dinner over his head. I smiled broadly, he smiled back even broader. I knew that he smiled because I could smile the next days were filled with wobbly steps. we held hands and many firsts after I got home dude and I continued our pre op ritual with almost nightly phone calls. Thirteen months after my diagnosis, on an ordinary Tuesday. In November we talked for hours. He spoke his love of James Brown and his longing for forbidden foods, like bacon and foie gras. He made me a Syria on my new Iphone to do pornographic things to him. We laughed until I fell asleep the next day deeds worried assistant. He was running
Department now called to say, hadn't shown up for work. When I arrived at his apartment, the paramedics we're leaving dude had died. He not been ill. He had not had an accident. His heart, had just done its work. I held onto a railing and permit, except with me until my world stop spinning. I once I entered the apartment. Life would be forever divided before dude and after dude would preface everything The police arrived, there were interviews phone calls in a three hour, wait for the coroner. During it all I stood behind the kitchen counter staring at the back of dudes, always pristinely blow dried head.
soon. I would have to call his friends and family and divide their lives to now, dude lives in photographs, one voice, mail, one piece of video: one pair of hiking boots, his favorite jacket, a few worn sweatshirts, his watch, his cat. His in plays his copper pots and. And his surgical instruments that he used to fry chicken, and the recesses of my memory I will never again hear him explain that Miller genuine draft. Sixty four only has sixty four calories as justification for why okay to drink, a six pack in one sitting never hear him explain every stage of the tour de France in a way that makes me wish. I could ride a bike. I will never know that he is hanging onto my every word when I tell him some ridiculous story about my day and I
Never again hear him laugh at that story. When my rare tumor was found, I thought it was a worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now I know I was the luckiest woman in the world for thirteen lucky months. I got to stare into the abyss and feel safe, jumping into it, because a man who loved me promise to hold my hand all the way down. if I'd known that, I would be the one who had to let go. Would I have done anything differently now hmm, the hmm
that's Marsha Stephanie Blake, reading Leah, its essay despite the losses. So much gained. We'll hear more from Leah after the break, the. The I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individual We not cheating, sometimes when I open up spelling bee, and I see that you have completed a few words on your own. I feel a little betrayed. They may have happened again. I have one
and who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was getting nervous. I sent it to my parents or something me and my dad. We likes this funny together and I wish Heather out it J C K, P, o Jack jackpot, panic yeah. Nice. I'm same is asking the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoying times dot com, Flash Games, Leah, Keith had her, surgery in January of two thousand. Eleven dude died in November of that year,
We went into grief, counseling and our last piece of homework was to write a goodbye letter to dude. I took it really seriously because I had a feeling that it was going to be the thing that sort of pulled me out of the pain and sore. As I read the essay to the grief counselor, I guess there was a point at which she says that my expression change and she said what was that and I said I think I just wrote a modern love s eye and I said I think, there's some value in this for other people and that I should put it out into the world, but I dont think I am able to do that now. So I made a date for myself one year and put it on my calendar I gave myself a year to heal and on the designated date I actually sat down and started to write The thing that emerged.
all the little anecdotes and quirks about him and funny little tidbits was that I was grateful and that gratitude in times of pain, became a resounding message that I really wanted to say to other people who were having a horrible year like I did. These days leaves It is good and when she looks back on the year, she writes about one of the times she's most grateful for and that she remembers often is the half hour before she was taken into surgery. Dude came with her to the press room as we sat there. I literally remember shaking, and it wasn't as their own was called driven and he held my hand and he said, stop shaken and he made me laugh and next thing I knew he was singing to me and he was making up some stupid song and fellow came over to talk to me about shaving, my head, and
We had a whole hilarious exchange with him about how much hair to shave. And it was a silly. He took me completely out of my beer and my pain and just made the moment really resonate for me as something that was truly. I would not have made it through that thirty minutes when she was standing in deeds apartment after his death. We have thought about those things. minutes again. I was there with the police and people being interviewed and people coming and going and waiting for the coroner and all these sort of horrible grim things, but I just kept thinking about that moment and how he was so present, but those thirty minutes- and I was the most important thing to him in that moment- that I had to do that for him. So it actually gave me the strength to do all the practical, awful things that I had to do in that time.
because I was like well, you kind of did it for me, and I guess you know it's on me this time to do this, for you Leah says that after dudes death, the grief counseling helped, but the first few years were very difficult and since then she's experienced more loss. Unfortunately, since he pass, I lost my father. I lost my dog of fifty years that he was good friends with, and I lost another really really close friend and all of those things were horrible. What I can also tell you is that, in experiencing the other losses you know, grief doesn't come compartmentalized that horrible pit of the stomach feeling that you get when someone you love, is gone and particularly suddenly just shows up. So it's compounded by every person, you've lost my father and my dog and my friend that passed were all people that he adored. So I felt like he was.
In the grief with me and consoling me and protecting me and- and I knew I would get through it- one of the ways that Leia remembers dude is by keeping his possessions around her, I'm wearing his watch today, because I thought he'd like to be in the room and give me a little guidance. As I talked to you and I keep his stuff around a lot, you know it's it's it helps it makes me feel protected. It makes me feel like he's around, he added a little bit of an obsession with copper pots and pans, and I cook in them every day. You know. I find that on certain days when I have meetings or or events or things that I need just a little bit of fortifying for and I might be a little nervous, I might wear- and I might, whereas watch that day
I might you know we are assured of it or something, and my friends laugh because whenever I'm looking for parking, I call on him and I'm like okay hook me up and sure enough there. It is what I really want people to take away My story is when you're in those those moments where you're kind of gettin beaten down to take a moment and when you are in the midst of it for his awful as it is and try to find something to be grateful for its oftentimes really really really hard to find, and you can necessarily find it right when you're in it. But if, at some point you can, I really think that clinging to that thing is what allows you to step out of the dark. That's why
Keith she's, a screenwriter producer, novelist and essayist. She lives in LOS Angeles. More from Dan Jones and Marsha Stephanie Blake after the break. If your hiring, you know can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, you just hope the rate Canada comes along, but not when you use it recruiter, zipper critters technology finds qualified candidates, for you then actively invites them to apply. In fact, four out of five employers who posted zipper cruder, get a qualified candidates within the first day. Try it free today at zero, cruder, dot com, slash and my tea that super cruder dot com.
slash and wide t recruiter the smartest way to hire. I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other of playing intervention. We not cheating, sometimes when I open up spelling bee, and I see that you have completed a few words on your own. I feel a little betrayed. They may have happened again. I have one And who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words, then I was getting nervous. I sent it to my parents or something me and my dad. We likes this funny together and I wish Heather out it. J C K, P, o jack. jackpot panic yeah. Nice
I'm same as earth's sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games. Daniel Jones. Editor of the modern love column for the New York Times has read thousands of essays, but he says that even he was surprised by the turn that these as a Turk, You know you think you're headed down one road with health problems for Leah and then suddenly dude, whose name I love dies within one sentence had totally unexpected way and the story becomes about something else. It was just a story. There was full of unlikely unlikely in us in other unlikeness of them together and of how they become each other's most important person. away way and and and how
you never really know who's going to be the cared for and the care giver and what losses will happen when, but if it's just well written and with surprising sense of humour and this. This pairing that just skated along the surface a lot of the time in terms of how they spoke and how they, how they bantered and had had so much depth to it and so much in the end, commitment to each other that I just really found that sort of a moving and surprising love story. and here's Marsha Stephanie Blake? I love that it was filled with humor and friendship And I can relate on so many levels with the loss,
in terms of the career and also in terms of the relationship, laughing made me cry: again to Marsha Stephanie for reading this week's essay she's just been nominated for an Emmy for her performance in when they see us next week, Miriam sure Anita and I met five years ago as roommates at a hospital just outside of New York City to the brochure and our patient and take folders the hospital in grounds posted rolling lawns, open meadows, forests and a gazebo, but why would we care about landscaping? The bush reminded me of a commercial I had seen for Hulu while watching pool. I didn't need the advertisement for the hospital we were locked inside. Modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are fosters NPR station, its produced directed and edited by Caitlin of Keith
regional scoring and sound designed by Matt we Iris Adler, our executive producer are in turn The wonderful shemeah loco? Who is going back to canvass next week, so shimmy we're gonna, miss you a lot and your terrific work Daniel Jones is the editor of the modern love column for the New York Times and adviser to the show special thanks, WWW Simon on your Stroman and merely at the New York Times. The idea for the modern open cast was conceived by LISA Tobin, additional music, courtesy of appeal, If you love the podcast, go ahead, give us a rating or review us on Apple podcasts and better telephoned to subscribe. I'm making the Chakrabarti see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.