My Mother’s Desk in the Final Days

If you read my post last week about my mother’s desk, this is the second part of that memory. Read it here My Mother’s Desk, if you haven’t yet, and you may want a tissue for this one.

I am sharing these memories of life with my mother during Colon Cancer Awareness Month, because I want people to start talking about the importance of screening and early detection for the second largest cancer killer in the US.

Colon Cancer affects both men and women of all races and ages. In fact, the fastest growing number of people diagnosed are under the age of 50. Please open a dialogue with your loved ones. It could save a life.


 The colors are the same. Rich, burgundy walls envelope me, their deep color adding to the silence of the room as the sky darkens. It feels safer in the daylight, the sun sparkling through the skylights warming the room with a loving glow. My mother’s needlepoint surrounds me, from the pieces framed on the walls, to the pillows tossed on the chairs. The same chairs from her bedroom in Beverly Hills. Still plush and inviting. Another piece of her handiwork is the throw rug next to the bed. The hospital bed is an intruder in this cozy enclave. It’s sterile-ness is out of place. Even the vibrant bedding I put on it, can’t camouflage its reality. This whole scene is wrong.

I stroke the desk like a genie’s lamp. The desk is here. Sitting next to my mother’s bed as it did in our California house. Never far from her reach, even though now she can barely get out of bed. It still holds the place of honor in front of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that overlook the meadow and fast moving river.

I used to think that my mother would decide, on her own, when her time was done, and she would lie down, close her eyes, and go. But, reality is far from that scenario, and here, I sit, in this chair, as she lies in that bed, three thousand miles from the Spanish style house of my childhoood.  Both of us, older, are now mothers and soon, I too, will be an orphan.

In this house, her bedroom furniture faces a breathtaking country view and we spend most of our days watching TV, the game show network and classic movies, our go to channels. Before her speech was gone, she would help the many detectives on the mystery channel solve their crimes. And, we would laugh. The two of us, holding on to every precious moment. Finding the humor in everything. One of the greatest gifts she gave me. She was funny. Even in her final days.  I was propping up her pillows one day and helping her get comfortable.  “Is this good?”, I must have screamed, “Do you want another pillow?” “I’m dying , I’m not deaf” she responded, not taking a beat. Laughter and love, still, to the end.

She wants the heavy velvet curtains to remain open, soaking up the beauty of the outdoors as winter sets in and snow muffles the sounds of nature as the intense fabrics in this room help keep our thoughts trapped inside.

A steep wooden staircase, no metal or spiral in this room, leads up to a cozy skylit loft my mother’s office now occupies, still unused be her. The desk always closer. A balcony outside the glass doors, floats high above the now covered pool. I think it’s funny that in California we didn’t need to open and close the pool with the seasons. So much in my life has changed.

 This bedroom suite is not a magical playground, although the costumes and eyelashes are still within reach. My role here is obvious, albeit still supporting. Only now I must give her physical support, helping her sit, stand, even eat. She still laughs at my jokes and the pride in her eyes is undeniable, but most of her speech has been lost, replaced with heart piercing sounds of moaning and whining.

When she does talk, most of it makes no sense, her body a mere skeleton of its former self. It has been an incredibly sad transition that began November 24th with a routine checkup at the oncologist’s office that led directly to the emergency room. My son, Jason’s 18th birthday, Thanksgiving and my birthday spent in the hospital, finally being sent home December 11th to begin hospice care.

 The Christmas tree I set up next to the desk, is weighed down with all the ornaments I could find, many from fans, hoping the holiday spirit will never fade and I keep it twinkling even in the sunlight. It is now Christmas Eve.

How ironic that my mother is dying at the time of year when so many people around the world hear her voice singing “Santa Baby” as they shop for their gifts and celebrate with their families.

I guess she did have some input as to when she would leave this earth and she made damn sure there would be reason to remember, forever.


Remember. Treasure. Love… simply Eartha.

15 Response Comments

  • dennis paleos  March 5, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    eartha was delightful and funny when i met her while she was saying at the sheraton in montreal!

  • Wanda-Lee  March 5, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    Kitt, please keep writing. I love what you are sharing and I guess I need it too. You know we loved each other very much and you both continue to be present in my consciousness. So thanks for sharing the real as well….keeping it ‘simply Eartha’ and all that that means …as only you know.

  • Mario  March 5, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    Thank you for deeming her fans worthy of sharing these beautiful intimate details of the lovely bond you had with this incredible woman that so many of us loved and admired through decades and from afar. Long live the memory and legacy of Eartha Kitt. Much love to you, Kitt.

  • Robert Waite  March 6, 2015 at 3:08 AM

    I had the pleasure of meeting Eartha at a Sydney show at the Hilton hotel in Sydney. It was many years ago and I think I may have been one of her youngest fans. She was an intriguing and warm woman. I had her sign a cd cover that I had bought along which she signed with pleasure. I still treasure it today. My mother whom was with me on the night had said that she wished she had bought her camera I don’t think Eartha would have minded a bit if I had taken a photo with her, I think she was that kind of lady. Ill never forget her x

  • Dennis Hunt  March 6, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    She was a true legend and i was so blessed to be in her presence at a Ptown show, and a meet and greet after the show. God Bless D.

  • Michael Lieb  March 6, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    Thank you for letting us into this very personal
    moment. I still remember Eartha performing
    at the Pigalle in London shortly before she passed.
    It was one of the most inspiring moments of my
    life. I flew in only to see her and I will never forget it.
    It was like meeting Norma Desmond in “Sunset Blvd”. I would have killed for one accidentally dropped sequin of her costume. I still would.

  • Michael Raven  March 6, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    Your Mother Was An International Phenom!! My Mother Introduced Me To Ms. Kitts Music Early In Life. I Was In Awe Of This Woman Who Had A Voice Of Molten Steel, And Could Speak Several Languages. Her Oratory Demeanor Was So Fantastic. I Could Listen To Her All Day!! I Knew Exactly When She Was Doing Voice Overs For Commercials. No Voice Like Eartha’s. And There Has Not Been Another Voice Since. God Bless Kitt!! I Miss Your Mom!!

  • Merle  March 7, 2015 at 1:14 AM

    how wonderful that you are doing this I am inspired my mom is 101 and I to and going through this

  • Mark  March 9, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    Simply beautiful. Nicely written.

  • Regina  March 11, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    “I’m dying, not deaf!” Classic.
    Hugs and love to you.

  • Karen  March 11, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    when I read this it brought tears to eyes.Both of you are and were remarkable women.

  • Susan  March 15, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    When I was much younger I was walking down 59th street in Manhattan with a group of classmates to catch the subway to St Albans. Your mother came out of a shop and got into her limousine. I smiled at her and tried to say her name and nothing came out. I stood there and watched her get into the backseat of the car, roll down the window and continue to smile at me. And finally I said, Eartha Kitt and she nodded her head telling me that I was correct and her car drove away. I couldn’t move. I’d met a star. A real star from a time my parents told me about. As I write this I see her face and that smile and hope my old age will not take that memory from me.

  • Sonie jones  April 11, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    I met her 1986 on a flight to New York. I was too shy to speak. I wish that I had the nerves to say hello. I was 13 yrs old at the time. Thanks for sharing. God bless

  • Ivana Gomez  June 7, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    I met you mother Ms Eartha Kitt on her 74 th Birthday she was in Addisson Texas performing a concert at a place called Yvette’s Star and Grill. A huge venue area, I had front table next to the stage. I was so excited I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be front row table. She came out and her presence was overwhelming. I started to shake I was seeing an Icon Legend in person. I’ve only felt that way with one other entertainer, Tina Turner. After the concert I was able to go backstage and even took my pic with her. She was so nice. Just wanted to share my memories, xoxo

  • karen  June 10, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Your reflection of time spent with your mom enligthens my days. For my bond with my own runs deep. The time passes quickly yet the beauty is the memories can linger forever. Thank you for sharing.


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