By Louise Ure
Bruce A. Goronsky, a much admired television commercial producer, died Monday, March 29, in San Francisco of cancer. He was 61. A native of Seattle, where he worked his way through the University of Washington playing drums in a blues band, Bruce moved to San Francisco in the 1970’s to pursue his career in advertising and broadcast production. A Clio and Emmy award winner and founder of Fleet Street Pictures, Bruce also worked at Foote, Cone & Belding Advertising in San Francisco and Ogilvy & Mather/Los Angeles.
My husband, Bruce, died two weeks ago yesterday. I wonder if every Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. will be as difficult. I’ve only had two of them now, but the world goes slow and quiet, my breath catches and I try to reorder my mind, once again, to face a Monday alone.
God help me, when I think of him, I can still only picture him that last night in the hospital. The medical staff was exquisitely compassionate. They gave us a private room with a lot of space. I got to sleep next to him and hold him the last eighteen hours.
He was unconscious by then, but I’m convinced that he could still hear me, that he was still nominally aware of what was happening, and that he recognized the race was over. He was simply taking a cool down lap.
Friends and family swooped in but then hesitated – shuffling in their indecision – fearful of intruding. They should not have. Death was the intruder. Cancer was the unwelcome guest at the table.
I have focused on tasks since he died and there are many to be done.
Here’s what I have learned:
For the same reason that doctors do not operate on their relatives, writers should not have to write their spouses’ obituaries. Our skill is unnecessary here, the knife cutting too close to vital organs along the way.
With a laugh that would enter a room before he did, Bruce had a love of senior Golden Retrievers and Maker’s Mark, and took particular joy in vintage car racing with his Shelby Mustang. He often said his only goal was “to be half the man my dog thinks I am.”
The financial documents – from the deed to the house to the paperwork to get the credit cards and bank accounts solely in my name – come to me for signature with the line under my name already filled in as “Louise Ure/Survivor.” I do not want to sign a line titled that way. I want “Wife” or “Lover” or even—in recognition of our quarter of a century together—“Widow.” I have not “survived” this.
I picked up his ashes yesterday afternoon, buckled them into the passenger seat, and talked to him all the way home. I’m lucky that he was always a man of few words.
There are many who miss him as much as I do, and last Thursday they showed me that when they put together a celebration of his life. There were more than 150 people there, some from his racing world, many from film production and some of you writerly sorts who never met him but who came to wrap your arms around me. His brother and 88-year old father were there even though they were so infirm that they had to fly in with a nurse in attendance. I thank you all. The event ended with all of us trying to recreate Bruce’s laugh. Magical.
He is lovingly remembered by his father and brother, Ade and Paul Goronsky of Seattle, Washington, by his wife of 25 years, Louise Ure, by the children of his heart, Brian and Maya Washington of San Francisco, and by many friends and colleagues.
One of Bruce’s old advertising colleagues RSVP’d for the event but did not show up. I would have been surprised if he had; there are arrest warrants out for him in two countries and he was reported to have died in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, but it looks like even that was a scam. In any case, he sent a note with a video called The Dash. It has stuck with me these last two weeks as a raft to cling to in these high seas.
“It’s not the date of birth or the date of death on the tombstone that matters; it’s how you live the dash in between.” That dash represents all he was, all he gave, and all the people he loved and who loved him. That’s what counts.
Bruce had a good dash.
Thank you, my Murderati family, for the flowers and plants, the emails and phone calls and charitable contributions, the arms around me at the memorial. You have my heart.