I was a fan of the "Late Show with David Letterman" and had been encouraged by friends and family to pursue a shot on the "Stupid Pet Tricks" segment of the show. I sent in a video tape of Luna and soon received a call saying they were interested and to be prepared, as I would only have a couple of days notice if they decided to use us. My mother called almost every one she knew, including people she hadn't contacted for years. This was a blessing for them, as I had encouraged my mother to call in the past but she had refused, knowing the only news she had for them was her deteriorating condition and didn't want a lot of sadness now. The TV show gave her an excuse to call and good news to share without suspicion, on their part, as to her motives.
In late July I got the greatly anticipated call but after much anticipation and planning they called back saying the producer was postponing the segment, with no further plans. When I gave my mother the news she gave me news in return, saying she could barely eat any longer and was checking herself into Hospice to die. Preparations were made. The day before her departure I got a call back from the show, I was definitely in and the schedule was set for less than a week. After much begging on my part my mother agreed to eat, I brought homemade chicken soup, her grandmother's recipe. She asked that I call the local newspaper, I did. My husband began taking videos of all the preparations, including us pulling up, in our car, to a newspaper box in front of a restaurant, and seeing Luna and myself, in living color, as the front page headline!
We left early on a (I believe) Monday morning. We were 1 of six acts brought in, the best three would then be on the show. My husband was told he couldn't tape the rehearsals and would have to wait for us in the dressing room. On stage I froze up, started imagining all the terrible things that could happen and knowing Letterman's history, knew the more embarrassing the incident the more chance they'd include it! Despite Luna's cooperation I couldn't go on. I went back to the dressing room to call my mother with the bad news, and found that my husband, while playing with a monitor had found a closed circuit airing of the rehearsals and had set the camera up to tape it! We stayed in the dressing room through the taping of the show. One lady, who was included, had a little dog that drew with markers (you may remember him, he was marvelous), and after hearing my story, gave me her dog's rehearsal drawing, signed by him, as a gift to my mother.
We flew back the next day and I immediately drove to my mom's house. I had about 3 hours of home videos to share with her, chronicling the whole event, from seeing our faces on the newspaper in the box, to the flight there and the limo service, to our time on the stage of the "Ed Sullivan Theater" where "The Beatles" were first seen by the world and finally to the lady presenting (on tape) her little dog's drawing. My mother watched all 3 hours straight through and received her gifts, which also included a "Late Show" baseball cap, before returning to her bed.
I stayed at my mother's for the next couple of days, trying to talk her into remaining at home, but on Friday she insisted on being admitted to Hospice. I drove in the ambulance with her to the facility. The next two days were a living nightmare of watching my mother quickly fade away. She died early Monday morning, peacefully and painlessly. The last photos of my mother are of her wearing the "Late Show" cap and holding the newspaper in front of her. (She refused pictures till I proposed the cap and paper to hide the worst of the cancer's ravages.) Luna has brought so much to my life but his most important gift was a few more days with my mother.