Thursday, March 22, 2012

End Game - 1 of four

Old age is difficult for the elderly. It’s also difficult for those caring for the elderly. My wife’s mother Ruth passed away last week. Even though it was sad for her to go, I must admit that we were relieved.

Ruth was 95. Over the last three years she became enveloped in dementia. She couldn’t remember if she had just gone for a drive; or who just visited with her; or what she had at the dinner she just enjoyed. She couldn’t talk about the details in any part of her life. Fortunately, she still knew who we were. She also remembered her other kids who called regularly. And she remembered somewhat how to play at a card game she enjoyed.

When my wife’s mother and father (AL) came to live with us eight years ago, we got into the habit of playing cards with them once a week. For the most part, they won. Ruth took her card playing very seriously. She was determined and competitive. You could learn a lot about life by watching her play. Sometimes you might get dealt a lousy hand. Sometimes you might get a hand with a couple of wild cards. The thing was, whatever type of hand she would get, you could see her strategizing; trying to see her options and making the best use of that hand. Even in her dementia, she never lost her competitive edge. She was a fighter. Over the years we played cards less and less. The last game we played together was about a year ago. And I must admit, it was humbling losing to a 94 old with dementia.

More tomorrow.