You realize now, that I’m writing, or rather transcribing these journal entries in reverse. Beginning with the death, and going back to the birth (hopefully). Then when anyone reads the journal entries, this story at least will be in chronological order. I realize that explanation won’t make much sense to anyone but programmer types. Well, anyway, here’s my thought for the day before we go back to the actual diaries. It’s what Aristotle wrote about the nature of Comedy v. Drama. Or maybe just the difference between Comedy and Tragedy? He had very strict rules for dramatists of his day and I imagine he could be a pain.
This is a paraphrase because that should be more interesting than the real quote: ALL COMEDIES SHOULD END WITH A WEDDING. ALL TRAGEDIES SHOULD END WITH THE DEATH OF THE HERO [or heroine as we’d say today].
I’m afraid this can’t be either, beginning with a death and working it’s way backwards. But I’m fairly certain this has tragedy written all over it; especially since I haven’t even joined up some of the other doomed characters.
Jan 4, 1988
Mom died. My poor mom. She went into the hospital – we all thought with a stomach flu on Fri Dec 18 and died on Sat the 19th of a massive heart attack.
We were with her until 2:00 in the morning on Fri night. She was moved into ccu [critical care unit] at 3 am. AT about 11:00 am I got a call from sister Ruby that her condition had deteriorated slightly and they were going to insert a catheter into her heart to check on the damage.
[I was living in the East Village at the time. Still in the apartment on East 7th street that I had gotten to be close to NYU Film. I was living with Carly, in not always blissful peace. But that’s another story. ]
I took a cab to the hospital and was there in ten minutes. Dad was called. He was on his way down [from the Bronx.] When I arrived at ccu she seemed out of it. Ruby was there. Mom looked at me, seemingly without recognizing me. Ruby said, “Do you know who he is?”
She still didn’t seem to recognize me. “It’s David,” Ruby said.
I don’t know if she knew me or not. I still didn’t really feel it was that serious.
[We had been on so many of these emergencies with her during her last five or six years, that this still felt like another episode. The hospital, just in case anyone is wondering, is University Hospital – the well-known teaching hospital in Kips Bay section of Manhattan. In fact, for about ten years, my father taught interns there something about dealing with patients.]
I touched her through the heavy yellow hospital blanket. Ruby had her hand underneath and was rubbing her arm. How I hate this hospital. All hospitals. Someone else is always deciding things for you.
The nurse asked us to leave. They said the procedure would take an hour or so. Still the doctors didn’t seem that concerned.
Her blood-pressure was very low. They wanted to find out why.
That was the last time I touched her.