Eileene Winters, a freelance journalist and onetime actress who wrote movingly as a single mother about her young son's long and fatal struggle with muscular dystrophy, has died. She was 77.
Winters, of Simi Valley, died Feb. 20 of complications from surgery to treat cancer.
For The Times and other publications, Winters wrote about the happy events, such as when her son Andy graduated from North Hollywood's Lowman Elementary School for the disabled, rolling proudly down the aisle in his wheelchair wearing a blue tie and a big smile. When the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation sent Andy to its summer camp near San Diego, she said those were "the happiest five days of his life."
Winters also wrote about the sad times -- Andy's multiple surgeries, his loss of the ability to walk and his knowing he could never ride a bike. She wrote how, at 16, he suffered pneumonia and subsequent respiratory and cardiac arrest and lapsed into a coma with irreversible brain damage.
"I can't be sure that he knows me," she wrote for The Times in 1980 when her son was 20 and in a vegetative state. "Only his smile remains of the Andy I knew."