My Ex-GF Christine Palma Died

We met at the LA Press Club in May of 2007 (she was a volunteer there, coming out of years of depression and not working, basically homeless, sleeping in the LAPC office, and feuding with other members of the LAPC). We were together for a year, and then remained distant friends. She was going to convert to Orthodox Judaism but could never get it together. For most of her adult life, she could never get it together in most things, but she was cute and cuddly and good with my tech support. Our first few months together were fun, but she was so chronically late and irresponsible and prone to falling out with people that she felt like a millstone around my neck. “You love me because I’m pathetic,” she’d often say and I’d deny it. In retrospect, initially, it was a turn-on to provide for someone even more broken than myself.

She’d had several relationships that lasted about three years. She’d never earned $40,000 in a year.

I would have broken up with her by the end of 2007, but then we took up chess and that kept us together for another six months. Christine was loving and faithful and easygoing. She was a good cook. She built my website Alexander90210.com and when I updated its WordPress last Friday, my site disappeared and so I emailed and texted her for help and for the first time she never got back to me. So I just Googled her on a premonition and found out she had died.

I wasn’t shocked. Her life had long seemed to me like a downward spiral.

She was cute when we were together but afterward she packed on a lot of weight when she was went on various anti-depressant medications. I gave her the nickname “Fats” which she usually found endearing. I tried to encourage her to lose a few pounds but then she periodically got angry and started throwing food at me. I got into a bad cycle of yelling at her (that never happened in any other relationship). I was impatient and she got rattled. I increasingly didn’t like who I became when I was around her and I finally cut things off after we took a 9-day road trip to San Francisco, Coos Bay, Pacific Union College, and Yosemite. The trip was fine but I was done with this woman who wouldn’t grow up.

She was my second Chinesy girlfriend (the first one was at UCLA in 1989). I made Christine laugh but she never got sarcasm. She created chaos wherever she went. She was wired in a way that kept her feuding with people. I tried to keep her at arm’s length and not get lost in her problems. I think she’s the only girl I’ve dated who was worse than me at reading social cues. I used to sing to her a few verses from the Mike and the Mechanics song “The Living Years” to encourage her to reconcile with… She thought that was ridiculous. She had good reason to hate.

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door
I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Oh, crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got
You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence
Say it loud (say it loud), say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye
So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts
So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be okay
So say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
Because it’s too late, it’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye
I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (it’s too late when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye
So say it, say it, say it loud (say it loud)
Say it clear (come on say it clear)

When I left her in May of 2008 (after I met someone Jewish from birth), she sent me about 60 emails in 48 hours and threatened to trash me to members of my religious community. I said I’d just show them her emails to let them know what I was dealing with. She backed off.

She particularly upset because she viewed me as her last chance to have children.

We stayed in touch on occasion. When she’d read on my blog that I was going through a difficult time, she’d buy me groceries and drop them off on my doorstep.

In the summer of 2008, I bought her an Alexander Technique lesson but she missed her appointment. That was typical of her. She was careless and irresponsible.

I sometimes encouraged her to give up her volunteer radio position and get a real job but she said her KXLU position gave her self-worth.

Now where am I going to get my tech support?

I told her about the benefits I got from going to 12-step programs but she showed no interest in doing something like that for herself.

In her 20s, she was gorgeous and smart and had the world at her feet. By age 47, she was dead and her life seems so sad in retrospect.

From the Los Angeles Loyolan:

Christine Palma, public affairs director for KXLU, host of KXLU’s public affairs program “Echo in the Sense” and an LMU alumna, passed away on Feb. 25 after a short illness. She was 47.

“She was a person of very generous heart and spirit, radiated love and light, exceedingly kind and caring and a peaceful and gentle presence one could always count on,” said Lydia Ammossow, KXLU advisor, in an email to the KXLU community. “Christine cared deeply for the station and for her work on her program. It will be impossible to imagine our Sunday evenings without her.”

Palma graduated from LMU in 1994 with a degree in creative writing and literature and had been with KXLU for over 24 years. Her show, which took place on Sundays, explored current events, feature pieces and long-form interviews, according to her website. She began as a student DJ before beginning her public affairs show after she graduated.

“I’ve known Christine 13 or 14 years,” said Peter Ludwig, also known as Mystic Pete, another KXLU host. “Her program was unique … I was often struck by how compelling they were because I listen to a lot of radio and its not often that I’m hearing things that are new, but almost every show she did was an important show. You don’t meet people like that very often who are just good natured and friendly and always helpful.”

Palma’s shows were mostly about progressive politics, the arts, new thought or visionary ideas and were always greatly researched and compelling, according to Ludwig, which was a sentiment echoed by Chris Johnson, another host who worked the show before Palma’s.

“Public affairs programming, mandated by the federal government, is often buried or viewed as an inconvenience by broadcasters. This was not the case with Christine and her show,” said Johnson. “Christine conscientiously researched and played lectures and discussions on the deeper and more important matters to our society and culture … Beyond that socially progressive stance, from which she never wavered, Christine was a good and true friend. Her impulse was always to help. She was a giver more than she was a taker. With her public devotion to art a vehicle for social betterment, KXLU has lost a champion. With her inclination to engage and help, I have lost a friend.”

“She was very kind hearted person and she embodied the real spirit of KXLU of that we’re all family and support each other and our shows, but she was even more so than that,” Pat Murphy, host of KXLU’s “Alien Air Music” and a longtime friend of Palma’s, said. “We can honor her memory by emulating her positive support, her patience and her dedication to our programs, as well as the other shows on KXLU.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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