Nora Ephron's writer son has penned a touching tribute essay for the New York Times detailing the filmmaker's final days.

The When Harry Met Sally screenwriter lost her secret battle with cancer last June (12) and now her eldest child, journalist Jacob Bernstein, has shared memories of how his mother handled her lengthy hospital stays.

In the lengthy article, due to be published in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday (10Mar13), he recalls how she retained her sharp sense of humour right up until her death, even when she was planning for her own memorial.

He writes, "She redid her will earlier in the spring when her blood counts were going the wrong way, typed an exit letter on her computer, spelling out what she wanted after she died: a party in the apartment with Champagne and cucumber sandwiches from William Poll; a memorial held days after. 'Get it over with' was the gist of her instructions. She even supplied the speaker list... (and) requested that they try to keep it to under five minutes."

Bernstein admits he had reservations about the quality of his work after completing the essay because he had previously always turned to his mother for feedback on his writing.

He says, "'Would it be good enough?' was the biggest question on my mind. She would have found a way to be funny about it, she would have found a way to be heartbreaking about it, and that's what she was, you know, great at."

And Bernstein is adamant Ephron, who wanted to keep her health crisis private for as long as possible, would not have minded him opening up about her last days.

During an interview on U.S. breakfast show Today on Thursday (07Mar13), he explained, "My mother's mother, who was also a writer, always said 'Everything is copy'. When she was on her deathbed, she said to my mother, 'Take notes.' And my mother did. So I don't think I'm doing something that's out of sync."