I’ve wanted to do a lot of things for a long time, and after nearly half a century, I still think that New Year’s will have a magical reset button. This year was no different.
I bolted up to brew the first pot of coffee for the year. I was about to write the first chapter of my new book, The Secret is Inside You. After that I would head to the gym to lift weights and declare to my body that I would be the master of my physique this year.
I can’t remember anything else I’d planned on doing because before I finished my coffee, before I even got out of my robe, I’d flopped down on the couch. It was cold out and I decided to cuddle up in a blanket and watch TV before embarking on the great plans I made.
I’m a writer, so I could relate to a lot of her story. I even started comparing my life to hers. It was my story I was watching, well, the one I’d always lived in my head anyway. I started feeling so unaccomplished. Luckily, a friend called me out of my abyss and invited me over, but it wasn’t before I caught an important message.
Nora had been keeping a secret, and her silence fueled simple, yet profound writing that I needed to hear.
In her childhood, Nora’s mother had coined the phrase, “Everything is copy”. Maybe that’s why Nora used her own triumphs and struggles to turn out authentic, funny, honest writing. After all, everything was copy.
Because of her open writing style, when Nora died of Leukemia and had chosen to keep it private, it was a surprise to those who loved her.
Jacob Bernstein, Nora’s son and writer of Everything is Copy, speculated that maybe his mother realized something as intimate and private as death was not copy for everyone’s consumption.
Jacob ended his Mother’s documentary with a simple, yet profound list she’d written, “Things I’ll miss when I die”.
“When I die”, said Nora, “I’m going to miss 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 lives. Paris. Next year in Istanbul. Pride and Prejudice. The Christmas tree. Thanksgiving dinner. One for the table. The dogwood. Taking a bath. Coming over the bridge to Manhattan. Pie.”
If I die this year one thing I’ll miss is the thrill and discovery each day brings.
And, if you die?