Doug, Susan and Alyce Segal will be at Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont tonight for a celebratory book signing of “Struck, A Husband’s Memoir of Trauma and Triumph,” the story of how the Segal family survived a horrific accident when Susan and Alyce were hit head-on by a Los Angeles City bus on their way to school six years ago.
The Buzz caught up with Doug and Susan last week as they were getting ready for a weekend trip to Las Vegas, and then on to New York for an appearance on the Today Show, which aired yesterday.
Following the accident, Doug, a professional screenwriter, began sending regular email updates to their circle of friends and family, a list that continued to grow as others heard of the event and were moved by the many emotional and spiritual issues it raised. I was one of those readers, as were dozens of other local residents who were school and temple friends of the Segals. The book comes from the emails, but it’s so much more too.
“People kept saying, I should write a book,” explained Doug. I thought, hey, if a book will help others, I should write a book. Initially, I thought of it as Susan’s story, but people said they wanted to know more about what I was feeling…and then Alyce always chimes in, ‘ Hey, I was hit by the bus, too,’ so it’s about all of us.”
Miraculously, Alyce, who was 11 at the time, walked away from the accident but Susan broke nearly every bone in her body including her neck. She spent three weeks in the ICU, was hospitalized for three months and then spent months in rehabilitation followed by several more years of hard work to gain her strength and mobility. She’s still working on it, she said, but to talk with her is to know that but she’s largely back to the wonderful, funny, quick-witted Susan so loved by all her friends. Both Susan and Doug are very funny people, and they say it was humor and love that got them through the terrible ordeal…so the book is funny and uplifting, too.
“I certainly learned going through this that everybody’s got their bus,” said Susan. Everybody is dealing with something and friends and community have the power to heal. Not everyone is coming forward and saying ‘I have this pain’ some people suffer silently but everyone needs that support.”
Susan said she hopes the book will show the joy of recovery. She and Doug have been asked to share their story and be part of the teaching program for staff at Cedars-Sinai, where she was hospitalized. She said it’s hard for her to understand that she’s become this inspiration. She wonders if she was saved for better and wonders what she’s going to do now.
“What’s my bigger purpose, maybe this is it? It feels like a lot of pressure,” she said, but then asked, “how cool is it, to be somebody’s inspiration?”
If you need some inspiration in your day, come see the Segals tonight at Chevalier’s at 7pm, 126 N Larchmont Blvd. Doug will be in conversation with their long-time friend, Camryn Manheim, Emmy award winning actress.