Rachel Bloom opens up about the death of “one of the most important people in my life,” collaborator and friend Adam Schlesinger from COVID-19 in April.

In her new book I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are, the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star writes about the beyond “intense” time, early in the pandemic, when she gave birth to her first child in Los Angeles and complications led to the baby being put on a ventilator in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Meanwhile, in New York the Fountains of Wayne co-founder and accomplished songwriter — also Bloom’s songwriting partner for her popular romantic musical dramedy was on a ventilator while battling for his life against COVID-19.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Adam Schlesinger and Rachel Bloom attend the 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Live Event  at the Feinstein's/54 Below on November 3, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
Adam Schlesinger and Rachel Bloom at a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Live Event. (Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images)

“I turned in my finished manuscript for this book on March 24, 2020, very pregnant and very satisfied with myself,” Bloom wrote in the afterword of the book, out Nov. 17. “It felt perfect that I finished a book all about my relationship with normalcy; after all, with a new human soon entering my life, my whole concept of ‘normal’ was about to completely change. But f**k, I had no idea.”

Bloom wrote about the pandemic raging and so much about it being unknown. Because of the coronavirus, she was being induced “to get ahead of the potentially devastating Los Angeles hospital rush as well as a potential ban on fathers being in the delivery room.” She let her husband, Dan Gregor, do the worrying for them and she arrived at the hospital to give birth with a “big smile” under her masked face.

“But then,” she wrote. “My daughter was born and she couldn’t breathe because she had fluid in her lungs so they put her on a ventilator in the NICU and that same night she was born I found out my songwriting partner Adam was in a New York hospital with COVID-19 and was also on a ventilator which was just so on-the-nose and as his life and my daughter’s life felt tethered together the concept of mortality suddenly hit me in a way in never had before.”

Rachel Bloom's new book, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are, is out on Nov. 17. (Image: Hachette Book Group)
Rachel Bloom’s new book, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are, is out on Nov. 17. (Image: Hachette Book Group)

Bloom wrote about the floor below the maternity ward “being turned into a COVID-only floor” so “furniture was being stored in the hallways.” Her doctor “burst into tears” while talking about “maybe quarantining from her family to not infect them.” Bloom was released from the hospital, but her daughter wasn’t. She and her husband — who wasn’t allowed back to the hospital to visit their baby, Bloom only — went home and “sanitized everything that had been in our hospital bags,” including microwaving papers “because who knows how this virus spreads.”

She finally was able to bring the baby home and at the time “Adam was getting better,” so she recalled how she “passed out in a blissful nap on the bed with the baby and the dog.” But that peaceful slumber was interrupted.

“And then my husband woke me up to tell me Adam died,” she wrote. Schlesinger was 52.

The following weeks were spent with “so many contrasting emotions at once that the word ‘intense’ barely describes that time,” she wrote. “There were moments in which I was breastfeeding my now-healthy daughter and feeling so grateful while at the same time weeping with grief for Adam.”

When she wrote the afterword, in June, she said, “It still hasn’t fully sunk in that one of the most important people in my life no longer exists.”

After Schlesinger’s death, Bloom issued a statement calling him “irreplaceable.”

Bloom and Schlesinger worked together along with musical composer Jack Dolgen on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which ran from 2015 to 2019, and all three were awarded an Emmy in September 2019 for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for the song “Anti-Depressants Are So Not a Big Deal.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: (L-R) Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen pose for photos in the press room for the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen pose for photos in the press room for the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Schlesinger also wrote the show’s song “Gettin’ Bi,” which has become a bisexual anthem.

At the time of Schlesinger’s death, he and Bloom were co-writing the music for the Broadway musical adaptation of The Nanny.

Bloom’s book I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are shares an otherwise humorous collection of personal essays and poems touching on insecurity, fame, anxiety and more.

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