New Mom #7

My friends and family think I’m very brave to be here, to move to India, a place I’ve never been, a country I don’t know, on the other side of the world.  What they don’t know is how brave it would have been not to be here at all.

My Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis came during the Writers’ Strike and just before Christmas.  I was sad all of the time.  Prone to tears for no discernible reason and fragile beyond belief.  I didn’t know whether I was depressed as a result of the MS or just heart-broken by the sad news.

In an instant, I became too big for my life in LA and too small for it at the same time.  I was clumsy and invisible, suffocating and alone, plagued by irony and pain… at a loss for everything.  I felt like “scab” writers, desperate for ratings, were writing the story of my life.  How long could it be before I got amnesia or met an unknown evil twin?

One day, when I was driving up Sunset Blvd, just past where Tower Records used to be, back when there were records, I found myself adding and subtracting, calculating and trying to figure out how much my life insurance policy was worth and how much life insurance I had on Robin’s policy.

I thought about Robin and how he’s a good-looking guy and a great catch.  We’ve raised nice kids.  They are warm and sweet and not too prone to anything objectionable.  They are smart and good-looking, just the kind of kids a stranger could grow to love.

We have a great house, in a neighborhood called Silverlake.   We bought in before it was cool and now we live in one of the most beautiful and trendy neighborhoods in LA.  It is quiet and convenient and if you were so inclined to walk to the stores or coffee shops, you could.  It’s near Griffith Park and Dodger Stadium and it is a community where people know each other, have lived there for generations and love it.

I thought about how if I got out now, my family would still be okay, they’d have each other. Maybe, in time, Robin would remarry and the boys would have a new mother.  This “New Mom’ would be younger and more fun and she would do all of the things that I don’t do.  She’d be patient, she wouldn’t tell mean jokes and she wouldn’t cancel Christmas on a road trip to Utah when everyone is whining about how long it’s taking.  She wouldn’t yell, “Because I said so.”  And, she wouldn’t help a four-year-old pack when he was running away to the neighbor’s house across the street.

The “New Mom” would ride on scary roller coaters with the kids and have belching contests.  She would wake up early with a good attitude and she wouldn’t fart.  She would snowboard and look great in a bikini on account of not having carried three huge babies herself.  For the same reason, her boobs would still be perky.  She wouldn’t kick toys under the sofa when company came over and she’d always have fresh-baked cookies in the jar.  I even had a few candidates in mind.

It didn’t hit me until I was almost at UCLA that I was having “thoughts of suicide”.  It seemed like such a practical solution, given the circumstance.  I’ve eaten enough sushi to know “honor” when I hear it.

After I munched down a Soy Joy power bar, I signed myself up for private therapy and at the same clinic I joined a Stress Management seminar for people with neurological issues.

In my group there was a guy in a wheelchair who could only move his head and his fingers.  He had a lot of personality and he kept showing off by doing donuts in his chair.   It was impressive, but then he got stuck spinning and we had to stand back until the teaching assistant was able to knock his hand off the controls with her notebook.

There was another guy who was also a quadriplegic (a “Quad”) who had gone in for routine surgery and somehow had a bad reaction to the anesthetic.  Now he was losing control of everything.  He had a marriage that was failing and a crap attitude.  There was also a young dad with MS who seemed fine but turned out to be a compulsive gambler and the facts in his stories never added up, so I figure he was a liar too.

I decided to sit next to an Indian guy who was a handsome man but a bit distant.  He was wearing an Obama T-shirt long before it was cool, so he seemed like a safe bet.

We go around the circle and start telling our stories.  The Indian guy has Tourette’s Syndrome and he explains about his first wife and how he didn’t really mean to hit her.  He talks about how his family found a second wife, after they paid off the first, and flew her back to Delhi.  Then, he explains about the second wife and how he really didn’t mean to hit her either, but how hard it was not to, because she was so irritating.

My eyes are getting bigger and bigger as he’s talking about one outburst he’s had after the next.  The therapist is calm and asking therapist questions about how it made him “feel” and all I can think is how stressed I “feel” to be within arms length of this guy.  I’m looking for the exit and changing the grasp on my pen in case I have to stab him right in the “O” of his Obama t-shirt.

He complains about the medications he was taking for his disease and the side effects, the impotency and the depression.  He tells us about how his company asked him to work from home because of his instability.  He explains about his “doctor” parents and his “engineer” siblings who he had burned bridges with.

Now, I’m even more stressed and sad, but I keep going to the seminar for all eight weeks because someone like me, someone who’s used to taking the bull by the horns, doesn’t just wait. Someone like me does something.  She doesn’t turn over her kids and her life to some perfect and annoying chick who was too neurotic and self-obsessed to have her own children and get her own life. She doesn’t just give up her balding husband and call it quits after breaking him in for the last 23 years.  And besides, someone like me, could take that “bikini bitch” (and you know who you are) because I fight dirty.

All that said, I make sure that I sit next to the “Quads” from then on. One thing I did learn is that there is no amount of my South Bronx or East Oakland attitude that can anticipate the scope and random nature of emotional instability caused by a patient’s chemical or neurological imbalance in the brain.

                    Copyright Nandi Bowe 2012           Special  thanks to Robin Melhuish and Donna McNeely Burke


44 Responses to “New Mom #7”

  1. harjyot says:

    Oh that’s a beautiful piece and actually I had tears in my eyes while reading all of it.You honestly have 3 lovely children yhough my favorite is Taj I simply adore him oh my god!

    • nand2688 says:

      Thank you for reading and feeling it and especially thank you for helping Taj feel so loved and special. He wakes with a smile and it is mostly because he is so loved by India

  2. Rachel Smith says:

    Nandi, I enjoy your life thoughts more and more. I had tears and laughter of your thoughts. I can definitely relate to some of it. I’m sorry that you have to deal with so much pain. I pray that God heals such beautiful person as you.

  3. Rod Garr says:

    Nandi, Thank you for being so honest. My sister and cousin both have MS. I just did the MS walk with my sister two weeks ago in DC. I support her in everything that she does. I prayer for your health and safety of your family.

  4. Ginger Blymyer says:

    Oh my Nandi, I didn’t know you had MS. That compounds the journey of course. I know a person who is doing Neuro Feedback with an MS patient and it is changing things for her already in just a few treatments. Just an idea, that if you could start now, it can hook up things it might earlier than later. Please look into it.
    Thanks for your honesty, and sharing it. You are able to still live a full live with that beautiful family with what ever challenges you have.
    It may sound corny but I think we come with the ability to deal with what ever life hands us. Some of us are weaker and don’t have to deal with something like you are doing. I hope that you do believe in a higher power and can turn all your fears and doubts over. At least India is the place to learn about that. It was where I was subconsciously prepared to come to my Teacher Adi Da Samraj. I have studied all the Eastern religions and then living in India for six weeks, traveling on a very low budget, I was able to experience so much more. I loved going into the temples, getting my mala and the red between my eyes, and feeling what ever was happening in there. I think because life has been so rough for so many Indian people they have had to accept more than we have in the USA and it rubs off on those of us who go there. You live there now and that is not a mistake at all. It doesn’t make anything easier in the physical sense, but perhaps in the spiritual it will. At 78 I feel my body just sort of drifting off on it’s own. Causing lots of trouble if I don’t respect it. But you are not my age. So I bless you in every way to live as fully and happily as you can. DA DA DA

  5. Your graciousness, sense of humor, and wit are all you Nandi.
    you are a fierce woman and a terrific writer
    I look forward to every posting
    much love
    Suzie Hanover

  6. Kokayi Ampah says:

    I have always had the utmost respect for you, because of you positive attitude and work ethic. I didn’t believe that respect and love for you could increase until I read “Hollywood to Bollywood.” When I finished reading it my mouth was wide open but with a smile.
    As we used to say back in the day “keep on keepin on.”

    • nand2688 says:

      I am so honored. You have known me before I knew myself. lease keep reading and liking. thank you much.

    • Susan Dukow says:


      I do not know you, but cruising around FB and stumbled upon a post by dear Kokayi and could not stop reading your Hollywood to Bollywood piece. Whatever your journey, you got what it takes! You are an amazing writer, and more importantly, sounds like an incredible wife , mother and friend. No bikini bitches in YOUR life! Not now, not ever!


  7. Hi Nandi,

    I remember your smile and beautiful sincere spirit and I love your optimism and positivity and
    faith. Your writing is great, you’re a natural. What a beautiful family you have,you are so blessed
    I look forward to reading more of “Hollywood to Bollywood.” Love in Heavenly Places, Ernest

    • nand2688 says:

      Thank you so very much. Support, especially from my friends with a huge following, means so much. I am new to this game and am trying to get a book deal for a book (Hollywood to Bollywood) I have already written. Even though we only worked together briefly, your warmth and spirit shines through in all that you do. Thank you for making the time to read and let me know.
      Warmest regards, Nandi

  8. Rick Jones says:

    Hey Nandi,
    I just finished reading your piece, and now I’m sorry that this is the first one that I’ve read; how beautiful! I’m so glad that you decided not to give in to the “Bikini Bitch”, why does she deserve to be with those beautiful children that YOU raised. I can’t wait to read the next episode!

    • nand2688 says:

      Exactly, Please read the others just click on and all are there and numbered. Thank you for reading. All the best, Nandi

  9. keviKev says:

    That’s right! Fight dirty Nandi…Fight…FIGHT! To be honest I can’t help but shed a tear as I read your blog. Your honesty is like clinched fist forcing me to stand up straight. ‘ Pull the bull by the horns’ is all you – never one to shutter or retreat. Just know Nandi that I stand with you and I feel your emotion deeply. Your honesty is piercing and I love it all. Much love….Always, KeviKev.

  10. Marc Delany says:

    I liked the part about going to stab him with a pen in the “O”… very Nandi

    How about the “live forever” option? That would be very Nandi too

  11. Bill says:

    This is living life Nandi, moment by moment, face to face. Thanks for sharing and being a great example……quite an honest, open, and heart felt story.

  12. Oscar Williams says:


    I love you and Robin, and the kids.
    They are special to me because you are special to me.
    I do wish we had more years of teaching together,
    The students loved you because you were fair, warm and
    they could tell that you really liked them.
    Do what you can.
    Do what you must.
    Stay long.
    Tell Robin I said hello!

  13. victoria says:

    hey nandi-
    a nother glimpse into your incredible zest for understanding your reason for being… of course, i shared this blog with pepa…i think she related and is happy that you are sharing the good the bad and the ugly with the world.

  14. michael says:

    hi nandi, very well written, heartfelt. You seem to be making the most of your life…

  15. Juzer says:

    Truly well written it was a great pleasure being knowing you and your kids for a short time..All the best

  16. Joy says:

    Nandi, I loved reading this posting. Your writing takes me through you, your thoughts and your world. Where do I subscribe?–Joy

    • nand2688 says:

      top right hand corner, near the “About Nandi” there are three subscribe choices. one is an envelope for email, one is RSS and the other is via Facebook. thank you much for reading and getting. Let me know if you still have trouble subscribing.

  17. It was obvious to Londa and I just how special you are from our first meeting. Your courage and honesty are uplifting. From our trip to India I know what a healing environment you are in and the love of your four men will certainly continue to give you strength. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep the words flowing, the truth is always refreshing! Miss you all and still trying to work that trip in, so don’t be surprised when we show up on your door step!

    • nand2688 says:

      Thank you both for reading. You’ve got 5 weeks before we leave. you may have to come without us here. We will be so happy to see you. love from us, N

  18. Roderick Spencer says:

    Wow. I know there’s no way you would have actually done yourself in. I wouldn’t have either when I had those same thoughts. You really captured how they sneak up on you though, like any other random musing. In my case I was lying on the edge of the roof of my apartment building on 23rd Street in New York, two doors West of the Chelsea Hotel, in the Fall of 1982. I remember thinking, “If I just roll to the right, all this noise in my head, this nagging clamor of self-negation, this huge, bad tasting lump in my throat, this loneliness and despair, all of it could be over.” That was the thought, and it actually calmed me down. Like you say, it was a little bit comforting. But the NEXT thought was, “Holy shit! I’m thinking about jumping – okay rolling – off a building! I must be really depressed!!” The tension returned to my body, and the noise, but after a couple more minutes, I rolled the other way.
    I wouldn’t have done it, but I’ll never forget how the thought itself snuck in there under the radar, and felt, for a little while, like a real solution.

  19. Bennie says:

    Nandi, thank you for sharing. You know you are loved by all of the Bridges family and we will keep you and family in prayer.

  20. Hi Nandi
    I am your new best friend. Got led to you via Kim Wayans and I am thankful for that. This is a clear voice that I want to hear from regularly. Would love talk to you about how your travels with your family are opening you up to the question of what’s next. I am curious what you think about authenticity and relevance. would love to have a chat. I think you have a lot to share and probably a gift for expressing it. What do you think?

  21. Andre Chimene says:

    Nandi, I have loved all the posts and wish I had the umphhh to do it when I came here .I stopped after 3 posts. I got lost in research and work. I will have my family read all of your blog so they can understand better life here and prepare them for their return. Please let me help you with your MS. Dr. Rosedale is leaving for 1 month back to the US. There is a lot of help that you are not aware of unless you have worked with Dr. Rosedale. I have witnessed miracles based on science and the biology of aging and not “standard of care.”

  22. Joseph C. Bond III says:

    Nandi,I love your writing. I could visualize you in your therapy session.Being a person with a neurological disorder myself(dystonia),its life changing.Due to my condition,my head was locked to the left side for two years.I knew life only from the left side,the right side was an mystery.I was able to find humor in my situation.I f anything happened on the left side when i was out with my family,I was the first to know.I stayed in my house for almost two years,only going out when I had theraphy,or had to see my neurologist.That all changed one day on my way to the doctor’s office.I saw a man swinging his leg and arm in an upward motion simultaneously.This was the only way he could walk.Wow,I thought to myself if he can go out and endure the public stares, I could too.The next day i boldly ventured out into the busy streets of Brooklyn.I felt freedom that was lost due to my condition.I’m glad to report,life on the right side is back!Thank God for Botox,yes Botox.I Receive injections every three months,the Botox allows me to have more mobility.Just wanted to share that with you.

  23. Theo says:

    Everything is very open with a clear description of
    the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

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