'Mom I'm so sorry about my tattoos': The emotional final moments between Nora Ephron and her guitar player son revealed
In the final moments before her death, famed writer and director Nora Ephron held on to her wit as she chided her son, Max, about the tattoos on his arms.
Ephron's son Jacob Bernstein penned an emotional essay for the New York Times published on Wednesday that describes the lighthearted encounter the family shared before the talented and vivacious author slipped into a coma and died in June 2012 after she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Max, a guitarist for pop-grunge singer Kesha, had tried to conceal his body art from his disapproving mother but in the wave of emotion as she lay on her death bed, he rolled up the sleeves of his shirt revealing the ink.
'Mom, I’m so sorry about my tattoos,' he told his ailing mother, who raised her eyebrows in jest and told him, 'You. Aren't. Really.'
Family: Nora Ephron with her sons, Jacob (left) and Max (front) in the 1980s
Brothers: Jacob Bernstein, left, is a journalist who contributes to the New York Times. His brother Max, right, is a guitarist for pop-grunge singer Kesha
Different look: Max Bernstein had showed his mother one of his sleeves of tattoos but did not reveal the second arm until she was on her death bed
The world was in shock on June 26, 2012 when Nora Ephron died at the age of 71 in New York.
She was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disease in 2005, which developed into leukemia in May 2012.
Telling only a handful of friends and family, her sons Jacob and Max, and husband, Nick Pileggi, Ephron decided to keep her diagnosis a secret in 2005 to avoid awkwardness.
Viewing her work as a medicine of its own, she threw herself into projects that included directing Julie & Julia, co-authoring the Broadway show, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and publishing a collection of essays, I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections.
She was prescribed various medications that kept her condition under control and no one was the wiser about her condition.
Film: Nora Ephron, right, directed Meryl Streep, left, in Julie and Julia in 2009
Though her treatment was successful for nearly five years, in May of 2012 she revealed to her son 'I'm having a little health crisis.'
In his essay, he portrays the vulnerability Ephron felt as she emotionally processed that her final days were near.
'When I arrived in her room, my mother was crying,' Jacob, a journalist in New York, wrote about walking into his mother's room at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
'She cried a lot that first night, and then, the next day, she cried some more because she was certain Christopher Hitchens had done no such thing, and she was devastated at the thought that she might not be as brave as him about death.'
'Now there she was, in her Chanel flats and her cream-colored pants and her black-and-white-striped blouse, looking so pretty and so fragile as she dabbed her eyes with a Kleenex.'
Family: Nora Ephron, right, had two sons with her second husband, former Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein, center at a party in New York in 1978. The couple divorced in 1980
Famous faces: Bernstein (left), Ephron's first husband, made headlines when he and Bob Woodward (right) broke the Watergate conspiracy story
She tried a series of chemotherapy treatments but her condition worsened.
Her family and friends stayed by her side but Jacob describes the sorrow he felt watching his beloved mother slip away.
'We waited as she went on and off oxygen. We waited as her appetite left her. We waited as she lost her hair, and this I remember vividly, because I did not see her cry at all. Crying, I believe, is a sign that there’s still hope. Instead, she seemed sort of numb.'
Even with the sting of death so close, Ephron seemed to cling to her humor as she drifted in and out of consciousness in her final days.
Max told his mother,'I'm going to miss you so much,' to which she responded 'Miss me? Well, I’m not dead yet.'
She passed away on June 26 and was remembered at a memorial service, she had planned herself having left detailed instructions to her sons on what food to serve and who to ask to speak.
Her final play, Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks, opened on Broadway this week.
Beloved: The world was in shock in June 26, 2012 when Nora Ehpron died at the age of 71 in New York.
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