The writer Spalding Gray made a career delivering monologues about his life.
After battling depression, he disappeared on January 10, 2004. His body was found two months later in New York’s East River following an apparent suicide.
When his widow, Kathleen Russo, and his stepdaughter, Marissa Maier, came to StoryCorps, they remembered the day he went missing.
Spalding Gray was 62 when he died. He left behind a wife and three children.
Click here for the transcript.
Before he went out that night was there anything you wanted to say to him?
Marissa Maier (MM): No, because I didn't think it was the end.
MM: We went out to dinner, and when we were home he started pacing back and forth which he usually did.
KR: Which was normal for him then.
MM: And he looked really agitated, and then he told me that he had to go see a friend.
KR: I remember I came home, and I asked where he was, and you said, "He went out with his friend Larry." And I called Larry, and Larry said, "He never called me." And then he was missing for two months.
MM: I remember that people would send us photos.
KR: Right, Spalding sightings.
MM: And we would all sit around the computer and look at these photos to see if it was him. Did you hold out any hope that one of these people would be him?
KR: At first I did, but he would never be that cruel to like disappear into the world and let us think that he was dead and start a new life somewhere else.
What do you think you got the most out of your relationship with Spalding?
MM: How he taught me how to think—how to see the world. And I was reading one of Spalding's books, and he wrote, "I know Marissa will survive and thrive for her whole life." And that's such a gift to have a parent write down how they feel about you.
What are you most grateful for?
KR: Oh, he opened up my world, too. I mean I was a single mom with you, you were three, and just seeing the world through his eyes. It was never boring with Spalding. [Laughs]
MM: I can't believe it's been 10 years.
KR: He was such a great part of our lives. I wish he was still here, but we were lucky that we had him for the short time that we did.