I am much more a reader than a film fanatic and so it's her books I love. Pretty much memorized them all. She is, in my mind, the anti-Anna Quildlan. Wry not earnest. Self- degrigrating never self- aggrandizing. Funny and West Sider-- though she found the East Side was not the enemy. Wit-- never not witty.
So in between FIVE hour soaks (freezing water and vinegar on wash clothes, after aquafor was piled high on my face with long tipped Q-tips, think vaseline. smudging every reading glass--) done to perfection thanks to Jackie and also Keith, the great support system.
After one doctor's appointment I was fixated on the notion that had we ever met (and we missed a few times by a hair) she would know the best doctor for festoons, which means I would not be in Tampa where the medical centers advertize on billboards and TV from the doctor's office: "Can cure cancer-- any cancer-- in one week." Or: "Muscular disphrophy and PD and dystonia, gone in one month" --which did nothing to give me assurance about the skin- eye- doc and my festoons.
Though I can finally say now, today, returning from Tampa, I actually found the perfect guy and they are gone! though my face is swollen and will be so for a few months. (Thanks for the prayers. Send them on to Susie Lindau and Kenny1948.)
So on one of my check up days I went to B&N and bought among ten other books all of which I read, including her last book from 2011 "I Remember Nothing." It was a follow up to "I Feel Bad about my Neck" but weaker or so I thought at the time.
Now I read it through new eyes because unbeknownst to most, she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006. So her book very cleverly hid her disease but put her in mind of death due to her best friends' horrid one and the fact that at our ages, she wrote it when she was 69, died at 71, we all face such losses.
Clever because? Because she knew that sooner or a bit later she too would lose her battle, so I was astouded to read through occluded aquaphor reading glasses that she had actually been writing her final book and that she ends it as many here know with two chapters. One is What I won't Miss which includes emails--twice--and Technology about which we are akin. Then she writes-- which at the time few if any picked up as her farewell.
WHAT I WILL MISS, her final chapter was was so tender--never sentintimental: in this list going downwards on the final page:
"My kids. Nick. Spring. Fall. Waffles. The concept of waffles. Bacon. A walk in the park. The idea of a walk in the Park. The park. Shakespeare in the park. The bed. Reading in bed. Fireworks. Laughs. The view out the Window. Twinkle lights. Butter. Dinner at home just the two of us. Dinner with friends. Dinner with friends in cities where none of us live. Paris. Next year in Istanbul. (get that?WO) Pride and Prejudice. The Christmas Tree. Thanksgiving dinner. One for the table. The dogwood. Taking a bath. Coming over the bridge to Manhattan. Pie. "
I found this so sweet especially the pie at the end-- so Nora--and then I decided to read no emails, not that reading forty books in two weeks was easy but absolutely necessary, and I decided in her honor to privately grieve for her by not reading a single email nor anything on the internet, an interlude long overdue.
I only went to the internet to check out her three sisters and her husband, who she adored, after two who were hard for her. Nick is Nick Pileggi which most will know. But he is also early Pisces, Feb 22nd and I do believe an early Pisces Italian sounds totally great and so I fell in love with him for her or with her.
You know how everyone says that when your parents die you are next in line? I never understood that, maybe because mine died when I was in my thirties and I wasn't busy dying. Nor did any beloved friend's death nor Eddie's make me feel that my turn was next or soon or any such thing.
Whereas this woman, a stranger but not, made me feel wretched and as if I was next in line though as said, I never met her.
So I was in Nora-land and in soaking- my -face & skin land and in Tampa- land until today when I got it that I am healing and not to sound superficial which of course I am and am not, the nicest thing today was when Toni, my pal at the Tampa eye clinic or as Jackie said, "the brains behind the man" told me after I asked exactly what plastic surgery she would suggest for me, a question we all ask each other, though the festoons were not cosmetic but necessary surgery.
Toni who has had everything done to her nice face, which in my wildest dreams I would never do--was so on point, telling me the single surgery I could do, nothing difficult that would make me really gorgeous which tip which made me happy.
I can't wait to have this done a year from now when I'll be 70+ with maybe only one more year to go out gorgeously & hopefully with an early Pisces Italian because she was so happy with Nick.
I know that Nora with her diligent beauty maintenance, which I do not do, would totally understand.