Jenji Kohan — the Jewish showrunner of Orange Is the New Black and Weeds, and the executive producer of GLOW — just lost her eldest child, Charlie Noxon, in a tragic skiing accident. It’s a monumental and unfathomable loss, and one would understand if Kohan wanted to be silent and offline during this difficult time. But the Jewish creator, who has always been so masterful with words, posted an ode to her late son that is heart-wrenching and incredibly relatable to anyone who has faced such a loss.
“He was my best work,” Kohan wrote on Instagram, along with a slideshows of photos of Charlie smiling, as well as a photo of him with his two younger siblings, Oscar and Eliza.
“A list of adjectives don’t do him justice,” she continued. “There is no justice. I am the luckiest person who ever lived in that I got to spend so much time and help grow this brilliant, funny, truly kind and thoughtful person-man-boy. My baby. My golden child. My beautiful boy. I don’t understand what life is now without him in the world. I don’t understand where he’s gone. And I’m broken. How is this real?”
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He was my best work. A list of adjectives don’t do him justice. There is no justice. I am the luckiest person who ever lived in that I got to spend so much time and help grow this brilliant, funny, truly kind and thoughtful person-man-boy. My baby. My golden child. My beautiful boy. I don’t understand what life is now without him in the world. I don’t understand where he’s gone. And I’m broken. How is this real?
Many actors and comedians who have collaborated with Kohan commented on her post with their condolences.
“There are no words. May his memory be for a blessing,” comedian Judy Gold wrote, with the common Jewish expression of condolence and grief. Jewish actress Leslie Grossman also wrote the same.
“Jenji, I love you. I am beyond sorry. Sorry doesn’t touch the sides of where you and your family are. Sending you everything in my heart,” wrote Jewish mom and Orange Is the New Black actress Yael Stone.
Stone’s former co-star, Natasha Lyonne, simply wrote, “I love you.”
Charlie’s father, artist and journalist Christopher Noxon, also posted an emotional tribute to his son, accompanied by a beautiful picture of the two.
“Our hearts are shattered,” Noxon wrote. “The cliches about moments like this are true, it turns out. The one about life forever changing in a split second, about the fact that we are all bound up in a web of love and loss, about the primacy of community in times of unfathomable tragedy.”
A junior at Columbia, Charlie “studied philosophy and economics and Chinese. He loved Bob Dylan, George Saunders and [Hayao] Miyazaki and so much else. He was questioning, irreverent, curious and kind,” Noxon wrote, adding that he led a “beautiful life of study and argument and travel and food and razzing and adventure and sweetness and most of all love.”
Kohan also added a beautiful way for any of us to pay tribute to Charlie, who loved coffee and strangers: “In honor of Charlie, please buy a stranger a cup of coffee,” she wrote. “Maybe even start an esoteric argument about anything, talk about bears, ogle a dog, or take a long walk with said stranger.”
Amen to that. May we all have good coffee and interesting conversation with strangers in his honor. And may his memory be for a blessing.
Image via Jenji Kohan’s Instagram