Memorial, New York City, October 29, 2006
Housing Works Used Book Café
The day Nancy and I visited Sarah at St. Vincent’s Hospital shortly before cancer took her away from us, we brought along a note we called a “love letter” to her. We were anxious she know how much we cared for her while still alive. Lest she couldn’t read the note herself, we read it aloud at her bedside. As follows:
“You are adorable! You’ve always been so, from the beginning – when in diapers, after a tumble struggling to your feet, you took your first steps at 300 First Avenue in Stuyvesant Town. In nursery school the only fault the teacher could find was that you were too good - you should have been naughty on occasion like the other kids...
“Then growing up in Old Greenwich - which is where you functioned as a pathfinder in society for Norman and Ferris, later for others. Which meant you were sometimes sassy with your parents, of course But whatever differences we had with you over your crazy attire or hair color changes – even that night you showed up at the back door unannounced, getting off a motorcycle, for heaven’s sake, we thought you were terrific. Before you were old enough to vote, later influenced by the politics of Bennington, you demonstrated an independent streak. A liberal long before George W. Bush came along to poison the atmosphere.
“We’ve been proud of your career following Skowhegan and Yale art school...From your startup job at the Soho News then making your mark as a painter, photographer and editor. We couldn’t have been more pleased of course than by the books you and Ferris did together. Including that lively piece you two did on two sisters for Redbook magazine..
“Among the virtues we’ve admired you for over the years are the steadfastness of your devotion to Michael and the abundance of your love for Vanessa. Always loyal to family and friends – especially underdogs, like your late Uncle Pete. A compassionate pal of associates at Scholastic, as with others you’ve worked with. . No mean streak at all. A remarkable lack of self-pity, most notably as you dealt with the adversity of diabetes from your early teens. Especially we do thank you for the forgiveness you’ve always lavished on your stumbling parents. Mom and Dad.” Unquote.
A footnote. On the way out, on our last visit to our darling daughter fading away there in the hospital bed, after we had kissed her tearfully on the cheek, in a fragile yet firm voice she said, “And I love you too.”