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Nora Ephron Knows

Received one of those email today that gets passed around.  This one was entitled “Buy More Bath Oil,” and was an excerpt written by Nora Ephron.  It must be a chapter from one of her recent books and in her typical fashion it is lovely and funny and oh so true.  But what stuck with this Zen Mama Wannabe the most was when she wrote of the loss of her best friend.  

“My friend Judy died last year. She was the person I told everything to. She was my best friend, my extra sister, my true mother, sometimes even my daughter. She was all these things, and one day she called up to say, the weirdest thing has happened, there’s a lump on my tongue. Less than a year later, she was dead. She was 66 years old. She had no interest in dying, right to the end. She died horribly. And now she’s gone. I think of her every day, sometimes six or seven times a day. I have her white cashmere shawl. I wore it for days after her death; I wrapped myself up in it; I even slept in it.  But now I can’t bear to wear it because it feels as if that’s all there is left of my Judy. I want to talk to her. I want to have lunch with her. I want her to give me a book she just read and loved. She is my phantom limb, and I can’t believe I’m here without her.”

If you have never experienced the death of someone you were closely connected to, this passage probably won’t affect you like it affected me.  You’ll agree with it in your head because after all it makes sense.  But you won’t KNOW what it is like to have been forced into a finality you want no part of.  To not be able to talk to that person again – ever.  To not be able to ask them all the things you wished you would have thought to ask them.  To not be able to spend more time with them.  Or to just listen to them and be with them.  You have no choice in the matter because this person doesn’t exist on this earth anymore.  You won’t run into them at the grocery store or be able to call them up and perhaps get a do-over.  It’s done.

What Nora Ephron didn’t write about in this essay was the contradiction you struggle with, often without realizing it.  Yes, like she said you think about that person all the time.  You miss them so much you feel as if your heart is physically cracked and even Dr. Oz can’t fix it.  Then, in a split second, you forget they’re actually not here anymore and you think, “Oh I have gotta send her this email – she’d love it.”  You actually have the thought, and it’s a valid one, just like you had hundreds of times when she was alive so that it’s almost pre-conditioned inside you.  Almost immediately afterward it hits you, at least in my case, that NO of course you can’t do that – she’s gone.  And you’re left with a pain that penetrates through you, as if you have to realize all over again that you can never ever forward her that email or ask her that question or have any real contact with her again.  Yeah, GAME OVER – but you’re left standing on the court.  Alone.

No one knows of this constant struggle you feel because you keep it inside.  Life goes on and all that jazz.  Days are filled with constant activities and your broken heart is kept under wraps.  You seem fine and so your loved ones forget your pain and some days you do too.  Until you get that email that you want to forward on and forget that you can’t.  Until it hits you all over again.  I bet Nora Ephron knew about that too.

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3 Responses to “Nora Ephron Knows”

  1. tmyers Says:
    July 20th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I can relate so well to what both you and Nora Ephron said…to loose someone you are that connected to is devastating. I don’t think we ever get over it but I like to think that the wound heals a little.

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