Service of Secrets

September 20th, 2012

Categories: Secrets


I can’t get out of my mind Frank Rich’s New York Magazine article, “Nora’s Secret,” about Nora Ephron, who died of Leukemia, but told almost nobody that she had it.

"When Harry Met Sally"

"When Harry Met Sally"

According to Rich her friends-he considered himself top of the list–couldn’t understand how an open book such as Ephron, who so freely wrote about her experiences and feelings in her manuscripts and movies, would keep this information to herself. They were shocked when she died both because she seemed so well and they didn’t realize that she was so sick.

I know people who seem to reveal everything under the sun but keep really important information to themselves and I fully understand and empathize with Ephron. Sometimes you need all your strength to put one foot in front of the other and you must harvest your spreadselfthinenergy. You can spread yourself too thin by having to respond to countless queries which, in Ephron’s case would have been about her health. Other topics people care to keep close could be about divorce, bankruptcy, job loss of a spouse, other disaster or maybe something positive such as a fragile, fledgling love relationship.

As a famous person, there would have been countless articles about Ephron’s illness, distracting her from what she wanted to do which was continue to live and work as she always had.

Being private doesn’t mean being secretive and it also doesn’t indicate a person thinks less of another as a friend. Is all a person’s business everyone else’s? If you don’t share, are you less of a friend? I don’t even see what Ephron did as keeping a secret, do you?


5 Responses to “Service of Secrets”

  1. DManzaluni Said:

    “He that would keep a secret
    must keep it secret
    that he hath a secret to keep”

  2. PWW Said:

    Jill Clayburgh kept her disease a secret too. Both of them kept their illnesses a secret because they wanted to work in theatre and film and knew if they told anyone they were ill they would not be insurable — that they wouldn’t work. It’s really the nature of this cut-throat business that only the young and the well are viable properties. It doesn’t matter how talented any individual is if they are perceived to be less than 100%.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think that there are plenty of industries that discriminate against people with certain diseases: They don’t want to pay for health insurance nor do they want a person who might be out sick a lot. Sometimes people with serious illnesses make a bigger effort to perform than the healthy who take a sick day because they have a slight headache or sniffle.

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    It’s a beautiful day, and all’s right with the world until you are told you don’t have long to live. Planning to shout this news from the rooftops? Want to blacken things for your close friends and relatives? Thought not.

    This actually happened to a cousin, and his wife was reported to be “furious.” She shouldn’t have been.

  5. jeanne Byington Said:

    Actually Nora told her children + husband + she had leukemia for years so maybe she didn’t tell them right away. Close relatives should be told so as to be on the lookout for similar disease so as to catch + attack it asap.

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