I normally write about crazy things that come to mind concerning my job. Or, I fill a considerable space with "shop talk" about various techniques or technical aspects of dolly gripping. This one's different. This post, I promise, will have nothing to do with the movie business, and there won't be anything funny in it, so please feel free to skip it and move on to the next post. I promise you won't miss anything.
I lost someone who meant a great deal to me recently and I have a need to write about her.
Kay was my mother's younger sister. Some of my earliest memories are of her, as a teenage high schooler, babysitting me. I must have only been two or three, but I still can vividly picture us in a porch swing somewhere playing. It's one of my earliest memories. Kay was the "wild"sister, I guess you would call her. I've heard stories about her my whole life. How she hitchhiked to Atlanta in the seventies to see Black Sabbath. The parties she would go to. The motorcycle accident that injured her enough to send her to intensive care. I still remember her in a cast (she was probably still in high school then, but I've never thought to ask). It was this accident, though she didn't know it then, that would affect the course of the rest of her life. They say it was a dirty needle in the hospital that gave her hepatitus. All I know is that for the rest of her life, she was in and out of the hospital with liver problems. She dealt with it though, going on to marry and have a son, my cousin Seth. She became my confidante over the years. As a teenager, she would help me through whatever crisis I was having with whatever girl I was dating. Nothing was off limits to ask. She was the one I went to with problems or questions that most of us have growing up that we don't want our parents to think about. She never judged, never got angry. She just listened and patiently gave advice. Maybe it was the bond we had developed when I was a toddler, I just felt safe with her.
She went on to divorce and date a few boyfriends until she finally met Lynn, a good man who really loved her. After my own divorce, her house was a place to go to get away from life for a few hours ( she still threw the best parties). She died last year. The liver problems that had plagued her since that long ago motorcycle accident finally wore her down. She was on the donor list, but was always "too healthy" to qualify. When my mother called me to tell me the news, I was doing a commercial in LA. I couldn't finish the day. I had been meaning to call her for a week or so, I was just too busy. That night, I called my ex-girlfriend, with whom I had recently split. She came over. I was inconsolable. She talked to me and stayed with me all night before quietly leaving the next morning. Kay was the first reality check for me. I had lost others, but I was really too young for it to affect me. I don't think of her every day, but every so often, like tonight, she crosses my mind and I am left with a deep and profound sadness. I miss her terribly and the space where she used to be is heart-wrenching. Anyway, Kay, I love you and miss you terribly. This one's for you.