Nora Ephron’s son Jacob on his mother’s last days, and the play she was working on that helped her understand her own sickness and impending death:
“In the play my mother wrote, there’s a scene toward the end, in which McAlary, sick with cancer, goes to the Poconos to visit his friend Jim Dwyer, then a columnist at The Daily News. It’s a glorious summer day, and McAlary’s 12-year-old son, Ryan, wants to do a flip off the diving board, but he gets scared and can’t do it. So McAlary takes off his shirt, walks to the edge of the diving board and says to him: ‘When you do these things, you can’t be nervous. If you think about what can go wrong, if you think about the belly flop, that’s what’ll happen.’
“And then McAlary does the flip himself and makes a perfect landing.
“It’s a metaphor, obviously, for his view about life. And I’ve come to think it might as well have been about my mother. The point is that you don’t let fear invade your psyche. Because then you might as well be dead.”