Upside Down

zandersMood: Heavy
Drinking: Not

This week brought some heavy news, and for days now I have been weighed down with the kind of sadness that leeches color from the sky.

A very dear friend of mine, Dieter Zander (pictured here at my book release party last May with me and his wife Val) suffered a large stroke earlier this week and is still in the hospital, his prognosis uncertain.

Dieter and Val have been a special part of my life since I met them in Chicago back in 1996. Safe to say I would not be the artist — or the person — I am today if I had not met them.

Dieter saw something in me the first time he met me, and he didn’t just say “I believe in you” — he gave me a stage, a place in the real world to use my voice — and in doing so, he changed my life. And Val, with her grace and steady strength, befriended me and in our lengthy heart-to-heart conversations, gave me a safe place to dream as she imagined with me the woman I could become.

Over the years, I’ve shared many meals with the Zanders and their three sons. They moved to San Francisco two years before Boy and I did, and were here to help us settle in and make a home. Dieter officiated at our wedding, and Val helped me choose the poems for my first book.

The Zanders have been to me mentors and friends, big brother and sister, inspiration and sounding board. I have just taken for granted the fact that they are and always will be part of my life.

So I have been shocked, I have been shaken to the soul by the news this week of Dieter’s stroke, and I feel ultimately helpless in my ability to make any of this better or less difficult for the family I love so much.

Many of you who read this blog know the Zanders, or at least have heard of them. I know you’ll want more information and updates about Dieter’s condition as the days go by, so please bookmark this website: http://zanderupdate.wordpress.com/

Whether you believe in prayer or good karma or healing thoughts, please take a moment today to send one skyward for my friend Dieter, his wife Val and their sons Kyle, Conrad, and Christopher.

I pray that his voice does not stay silent for very long…

-Lo, who has a hundred things she should have said.

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