A few days ago I commented on the passing of Rana Ross – a fabulous bassist and larger than life character from LA, who I’d met at the NAMM show a couple of years ago, and stayed in email contact with…
This was posted to TBL (a bass discussion list) – an open letter from her husband about Rana – time to sit back and count blessings, methinks…
“To give you an idea of what she overcame over the years we were married on
Sept 8th, 1988 but – before she would allow me to marry her – she went to
have an AIDS test done. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY and spent a wild time
(sex, drugs and rock & roll) during the late 70’s/early 80’s. She stopped
the wild side around 1982 but it was too late. The HIV test came back
positive in 1988 and at that time it was a death sentence with no drugs
available to treat the disease.
“I talked her into marrying me anyway, because it’s the person that you love,
not the disease. I was and remain HIV negative, and in fact never had any
fear of contracting the virus from her – can’t explain it, but somehow I
knew that she would never pass it to me.
“The medications that eventually came out over the years worked for her, but
it was like taking chemo-therapy year after year. One result was the erosion
of the sheaths that cover the nerves in her feet and hands, developing into
a diabetic-like peripheral neuropathy. She described it as feeling like
someone has driven red hot nails into her feet and sent her walking across
hot coals. How she performed and danced on stage I’ll never know, but she
never missed a step. Know one knew that many times I literally had to carry
her to the car from the pain, but she would never allow this to interfere
with her career or jeopardize any band’s performance. She was amazing like
that – and how she played when her hands were so numb that she couldn’t feel
the strings I’ll never understand, but she did it and only very very rarely
missed a note. She was a consummate performer.
“Over the last 7 years she has been in and out of various hospitals over 50
times, but never once did she miss a performance, regardless of how ill she
“Last year we found out that she had Hep C, which caused the cirrhosis of the
liver that eventually killed her. Basically, the decomposed liver allowed
blood to back up into the inflowing veins, which caused bleeding in the
abdomen and stomach. Unknown to us she was bleeding internally over the
weekend and collapsed on Monday. She was taken to the hospital ER where she
coded, but they brought her back to life – comatose. That was always her
biggest fear, to be on life support.
“I went against her wishes and told the doctors to do everything they could
to keep her alive so that her family, who are all on the east coast, time to
get out here to Los Angeles. I felt that her mother had to have a chance to
say goodbye to her daughter, there was no way I was going to not allow that
“She had several cardiac and pulmonary arrests, the last one very severe.
That was the day I had to insist that she be taken off life support. She
passed easily, opening her eyes and looking at everyone in the room and
squeezing the hands of those holding onto her and simply stopped breathing.
For the first time in months she looked peaceful. No more pain, hospitals,
doctors, needles, medication. It was simply time for her to rest. She had
told me many times over the last few months that she was tired of fighting
and being in constant pain, and that the only reason she was fighting and
staying with us was she was afraid to leave me alone. Her body started to
shut down after I held her for hours, telling her over and over that I love
her and if she wants to fight I’ll be right along side her all the way but
that I know she’s tired and that I’ll be OK if she wants to stop the battle.
I think I finally got through to her, convinced her that I’d be OK and
please not to stay in pain for me. I told her it’s OK to just let go, and
her body started to shut down – kidneys, etc.
“I hope she gets the long rest that she deserves so much. But my God, I miss
her so much my bones ache.
And here’s me feeling put upon for having to practice each day…by