Monday is Halloween, October 31, 2016. They don’t pay much attention to Halloween in this town. Delicious candy is in the stores, but… there is always candy in the stores – delicious gourmet chocolates and boxes of goodies. No huge sacks of small Hershey Bars. Store windows have a “fall” theme. My Halloween fun will be on Facebook – seeing all the posts of parties and creative costumes mixed in with a barrage of political opinions and posts – ugh.
More important, Monday marks the anniversary of Steve’s death – two months later. It seems like yesterday that he was watching TV on the sofa, or sitting at his desk – writing things to post on Facebook, or spending time with the Redhead and Vic Landell in Nice, or in the kitchen – cooking “gravy” (the Italian word for pasta sauce). Most of his clothes are in the closet. All trains lie dormant. Boxes of uncooked fusilli are in the cupboard. A copy of each book – in the bookshelf. How long will things remain like that? I don’t know. Until I change them. Don’t know when that will be.
GoFundMe has been a Godsend. I am almost “there”. Some signs of accomplishment – I paid one hospital – two to go. I have submitted required documents to the French government, the U.S. Government, the landlord, insurance companies, and a slew of other agencies that needed notification. I have renegotiated my lease (for now) and have begun thinking about downsizing – again. None of this has been easy – but necessary. And, during it all, I got sick.
The good news is that I am better. The bad news is that I must get in the car, drive to Hopital l’Archet, deal with Admissions, and negotiate hospital bills with people who speak French – only. On another day, I must get in the car, drive to Hopital Pasteur, deal with Admissions, and negotiate hospital bills AND morgue bills with people who speak French – only. One lady scolded me – in English, mind you – how dare I live in France and not speak French.
These campaigns are controversial. I have been criticized – “it is a scam”, “she lives in California, not France”, “she is enhancing her retirement”, “GoFundMe campaigns are out of control”, and so forth. Maybe. I am doing it anyway. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And, to those of you who cannot contribute, or don’t want to contribute, or have contributed – please share this post. That helps a lot.
Just for the record: When Steve died, it was like being in a shipwreck, with waves crashing all around me. I searched for a piece of wreckage to hold on to, having to make decisions right and left. And, worst of all, I was in shock and couldn’t think. Now, six weeks later, I am thinking a tad better and glad of it. Bottom line, I need help. There are a lot of bills. If you will, it really helps. We moved on a tight budget. Maybe not the best way, but we did it anyway. All attorneys are not rich (no jokes, please). With love and appreciation, Jay For those who may not know, on October 1, 2015, over a year ago, my husband Steve Orlandella and I moved to Nice, France. We moved to France as a compromise. We had been living in Los Angeles, California, for many years. I moved there in 1968, from Gainesville, Georgia, to be an actress. I met Steve Orlandella in 1993, at Dodgers Stadium. He was a television writer / producer / director for KCET. We got married in August 2005. He began writing books while I practiced law. In 2014, we decided to retire to Nice, France. It took two years to “get our ducks in a row,” complicated with snags galore. On October 1, 2015, we moved – two happy campers. On July 30, 2016, Steve didn’t feel well – the flu. On Tuesday, he took a major turn for the worse. I rushed him to emergency. He was diagnosed with acute pneumonia. He remained in the intensive care section of ICU for a month while doctors tried to save his life. On August 31, 2016, he died of heart failure. He was only 66. Since then, bills have come in – hospital, doctors, morgue, funeral home, crematorium, obituaries, insurance policies, deductibles, renewals. We did not have life insurance or sufficient French insurance because we were excited about living, not concerned with dying. The money is being used to cover existing costs and incoming bills. So…. I thank you for any help you are willing to give. I’m sure Steve thanks you, too. Jay
AND, have some Hershey kisses – especially the ones with almonds – for me.