IMG00201-20101214-1036I last saw Ruth in a nursing home in Bullhead City, AZ days before Christmas in 2010.  Little of her famous sparkle was left.  Her fight had nearly left her.  She was miserable, scared and wanted the hell out of that crappy nursing home and my sister and I didn’t blame her a bit.  Courageously, my sister Jeanie managed to figure out care for her and brought her home days after my visit.

This last trip was particularly tough as I was fairly sure it would be the last time I saw her – and it was.  She had to have help with absolutely everything.

Hundreds of times I had seen her sit in a chair, cross her legs and enjoy a cup of coffee.  She wanted out of bed and we called an attendant to help.  The attendant helps her into the chair – coaching her through what she needed her to do.  Ruth was wearing these wonderful furry booties and her signature thin white socks rolled down just a bit.  This photo makes me tear up every single time.

We had a nice visit.  She drank a few sips of coffee.  In between, she scratched her head and looked out the window.  Perhaps she was remembering a snippet of a funny story with her sisters or my dad.  The little people, elephants and scary faces seemed to leave her alone for a bit – perhaps they were scared of me?  She quickly tired and we called the attendant back to help her back into bed.  The lady leans over and says, “Ruth, wrap your arms around me,” and Ruth complies.  “I am going to stand you up.”  A feeble OK is given.  Up she goes.  “OK Ruth, now turn around.”  No response.  “Ruth turn around.”  Still no response.  “Ruth, I need you turn around!”  Ruth finally retorts, “I can’t – you’re standin’ on my foot!”

My sister and I laughed until we cried.


Related Stories:

Fragility and Comedy – Ruth Rocks

A Son Says Goodbye









umstead-park-sals-branch-trail-runningThe majority of ultra-marathon racers who quit a 100 mile event do so around mile 95.  Yes, the last 5 miles.  Who would do this when there are only 5 miles to go?

We are talking about highly trained, dedicated athletes with a single-minded focus on their goal and yet, many quit with their goal so near.  They have worked and worked and come so far…yet.

Ninety-five miles is a VERY long way to run.  This takes the individual well past any training run.  They have long ago ran out of physical and mental energy.  The finish line is not in sight.   Can I possibly endure one more hill?  Do I want it badly enough?  My body and mind are bruised.  This has been much harder than I ever imagined.  Is my goal still in my minds eye?  All that is left is emotional energy.  Is it enough?

The last 5 miles is ALWAYS the hardest.  Keep a firm mental grip on your goal and relax all else.  Let there be no wasted energy from negative thoughts.  Wring every last bit of your energy.  The finish line is just about in sight.