Saturday, September 8, 2012

the last book I ever read (Katharine Graham's Personal History, excerpt nine)

from Personal History by Katharine Graham:

On Saturday, August 3, Phil’s driver picked him up at Chestnut Lodge, and then they came to R Street to get me. One of the things Phil had said he wanted to do was work on farm problems while he was there, so I had asked Buck Nalls to come up to the house in the afternoon. I remember that Phil expressed surprise at my having asked Buck to come, no doubt having forgotten that he had mentioned working on the farm as one of his reasons for going there.

We had lunch on two trays on the back porch at Glen Welby, chatting and listening to some classical records. After lunch, we went upstairs to our bedroom for a nap. After a short while, Phil got up, saying he wanted to lie down in a separate bedroom he sometimes used. Only a few minutes later, there was an ear-splitting noise of a gun going off indoors. I bolted out of the room and ran around in a frenzy looking for him. When I opened the door to a downstairs bathroom, I found him.

It was so profoundly shocking and traumatizing—he was so obviously dead and the wounds were so ghastly to look at—that I just ran into the next room and buried my head in my hands, trying to absorb that this had really happened, this dreadful thing that had hung over us for the last six years, which he had discussed with me and with the doctors, but which he had not been talking about in recent weeks, when he was obviously most seriously thinking about it. The sight had been so appalling that I knew I couldn’t go back in, so I ran to call Buck and our caretaker, William Smith, for help. They had heard the gunshot and appeared immediately.

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