It sounds like the story of a romantic comedy when a couple falls in love at the age of 72 over email. But that’s exactly what happened to author Delia Ephron. Delia co-wrote the ’90s classic You’ve Got Mail with her late sister Nora Ephron. Delia unexpectedly discovered herself in a well-known movie scenario.
Through an editorial she wrote about the recent passing of her husband, playwright Jerry Kass, Delia met Peter Rutter, a psychiatrist, and Jungian psychotherapist. Kass and she had been married for more than three decades.
“I joked about losing my wits over my husband’s passing and Verizon in a column I wrote for the New York Times. I consequently received an email from Peter through my website six months later,” the woman claims.
After reading the opinion piece, Peter noticed many parallels between Delia’s tale and his own and got in touch. The connection was established in this manner. “I replied to his letter. I hoped it was charming. We then started writing, and very immediately, we fell in love. He appeared to be anticipating our meeting.
Delia was still mourning the recent deaths of her husband and her sister Nora, who passed away in 2012. Nora had a very dangerous form of leukemia that runs in families. Delia received the same cancer diagnosis only a few months after Peter and Delia started dating.
“I was diagnosed with leukemia four months after I fell in love. That weekend, he suggested, She says. “We went and got a license and bought a ring on Monday, and on Tuesday, I checked into the hospital for my first chemo.” They held their ceremony there as they faced an uncertain future.
She was on the verge of death from the treatment and bone marrow transplant, yet she not only survived, but the cancer is also very unlikely to return. The trial did not destroy her marriage to Peter. She recalls, “We were all in.”
Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life is the title of Delia Ephron‘s most recent autobiography.
After Jerry’s Passing, I Was Initially Hesitant to Start a New Relationship:
Jerry is scattered across the home. His writings and photographs are framed on the walls, and a Moroccan purchase is displayed on a shelf. He surrounds me in every direction. Additionally, we shared a common upbringing. He’s always on my mind because we shared our adult lives together.
You must therefore make space. You have to give yourself permission to experience the passion and excitement of it in order to let another person in, and at first, I became quite afraid. The next morning, I called my friend Jessie and said, “I can’t do this.
I’m unable to begin another connection. He’s going to pass away, and then I’m going to be alone once more, I told her. But it was more than that; it was the shame that [Jerry] couldn’t have it and I would.
On Being Open for Love, Despite Her Fear and Grief:
Writing this book was strange in that it was somewhat like a treasure hunt. I review everything we wrote because it was our love story; I incorporated those letters and was able to relive our connection and the things we said to one another.
The fact is, you don’t really have much control over falling in love. If you experience love, it’s because you’re receptive to it. I was willing to consider it. Peter was receptive to the idea. We were there and consider ourselves really fortunate.
On Comparing Herself to Nora in Life and Death:
It felt as though I was facing my own mortality when I was in the hospital [with Nora]. I was considering the possibility that you might be involved.
It was always present during the entirety of her sickness, and I was a good match for her. She could have used me as a match if she had desired a bone marrow transplant as I did.
She was the firstborn, though, which was one of the advantages of being sisters. I came in after them. Hallie and Amy are my younger sisters. There are four of us. We are all authors. We all entered that family company and became published writers. However, Nora took precedence.
Nobody could keep up with her because of how quickly she was moving around the track. Naturally, I was also attempting to mimic her actions. However, I was unable to keep up. Your signature appears in what you write. Nobody else is capable of doing that and seeing the world exactly as you do.
And it was at that point that I really started to realize who I was without her. But when I contracted the same illness, there was no way in hell that I could have thought I wasn’t also going to pass away.
My doctors also got it and got it. You are not your sister, they informed me. And they meant that, when examined under a microscope, my leukemia was distinct from her leukemia.
That was indeed the case, and I made an effort to just repeat in my brain, “You were not your sister, you are not your sister.” But it seemed like a betrayal.
For a Little Period, Delia and Nora Both Concealed Their Illnesses and Their Marriages
I could not reasonably describe how I got married in four months without mentioning my illness. Since it wouldn’t have made much sense otherwise, they sort of went together. I, therefore, kept that a secret. I don’t enjoy keeping things hidden, but I wasn’t as well-known as Nora.
I mean, if you’re famous and you tell people that you’re ill, you can’t leave the home without someone approaching you on a street corner and bringing it up. Nora… she always needed to be strong, but if she informed anyone, they couldn’t insure her, and she wouldn’t be able to live the life she desired.
There were a zillion reasons why Nora would keep it a secret. Additionally, temperament is another factor, and I simply lack that disposition. I needed to be able to discuss what I was going through if I went out to dinner with a close girlfriend.
On how Cancer Has Changed Her:
In some way, I can’t believe I’m here. I believe I make an effort to treat everyone kindly. When I was that person in a wheelchair and walker on the street, I came to the realization that I had never felt the sympathy and empathy I do now for the individuals who many of us will be there.
Although I find being in love at this stage of life to be incredibly reassuring and lovely, I have friends who vehemently oppose it. They are not interested in it, but for me, it serves as sustenance for the good times we have together.
We have a lot of fun. Because of Peter, my life has changed. We went to the total eclipse since he is interested in the stars. I’ve had some wonderful adventures.