I am in tears as I write this.
I woke up this morning to heartbreaking news. Radio host Art Bell’s beloved wife Ramona has died of an asthma attack. In their fifteen years of marriage, Art and Ramona had not been apart for a single day. That’s how devoted they were to each other.
Now, I have never actually met Art Bell, but I feel I know him, after having been on his show (Coast to Coast AM) three times, and having been in on-air conversation with him for nine hours. In nine hours, you get to know a person. Even if it’s live and on the air. Here’s what I gleaned about Art: He’s open-minded. He’s insanely curious. He’s funny, and he’s warm, and yes, he’s a bit “out there”. He’s exactly the kind of guy I’d want to have at my dinner table, the kind of guy I’d love to split a bottle of wine with as we sit in a hot tub and stare at the stars and consider the possibility of extraterrestrials on earth.
In short, I think of Art as a friend. As a fellow “questioner” in this universe.
So I’m just devastated that his wonderful Ramona is gone.
I got the chance to speak to Ramona months ago, when she got on the phone to say hello to me and to tell me how much she liked my books. She was a Filipina, and so we “connected” in that way that non-white Americans manage to connect, having the shared experience of knowing what it’s like to be different in a majority-white culture. I only wish that I’d had the chance to meet her.
I know there are people who think of Art Bell as an eccentric, maybe even a bit of a weirdo, the way people think of me as a weirdo. That’s okay. We are people who always want to look around corners, who always want to see behind the curtain. Art is that kind of guy, and we NEED more people like him.
I want you to know this about the man: he loved his wife. I can’t think of any higher tribute.
That’s all you need to know about him. He loved his wife. It’s enough to know we should all care about him.