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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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Session:         Page of 763

was able to handle hers. Courage and dignity and acceptance of the inevitable. For example, the last time I was taking her home from the hospital. She wanted to come home; she did not want to die in the hospital. She said to me, “Kenneth, I couldn't get a piddling form of this disease, could I?” I think my response, either openly or inside, was “Mamie, you couldn't get a piddling anything.” There were some things that she felt she couldn't talk with me about, but she talked with the children about. Namely, the specifics of her funeral, and the memorial service. She said to my son and daughter, whom she gave these instructions to, “I can't talk to your father about this. He'll break down. But here's what I would like to happen.” She told them, and we carried it out to the full extent of her wishes--now, you get from that where I was, right? I was bewildered, to use my favorite term. I couldn't understand why this person, who was much more careful about things like smoking and whatnot, this person who made the appointments for me to go to the doctor for check-ups, and who was careful, and had her carefulness about life and what could be done rub over on me, when I was very casual about life. She stopped smoking years and years ago and I continued. I couldn't understand. I told the doctors, “You have the wrong person.” I was terribly disturbed at her suffering. Even her suffering she handled with dignity and courage. For example, we had the nurses at home, and more often than not she refused to take the medication for the pain. It was only very near the end, about a day or two before she died, I was in the room with her and she said, “Kenneth, help me; help me. I need help.” I said All right, and I gave her the medication and she took it. But most of the time she

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