Ruth. A special young woman. She came in to our lives two summers ago. She was one of my dad’s first full time 24 hour caregivers. I spent a lot of time with them that weekend. I brought Riley with me and we went to Castle Island.
I’m not sure who was having the most fun that day, my dad? me? Riley? Ruth? I think Ruth was getting a kick out of me and Riley. She couldn’t quite understand this hurricane of a person who came over that day, (me ) and Riley was such an adorable puppy! But, for the first time in a long time since my mom had passed away, my dad started to get excited about people in general and was learning so much about himself as an 87 year old guy. His strengths and weaknesses and one very major quality, his ability to listen. One thing he told me over and over was how he was helping these girls who came to help him. He would listen to their stories, about their lives and engage them in conversations on every level. He always believed that he was helping them with their lives, more than they were helping him. This of course, changed over time and I believe when he felt that he became the bigger burden he didn’t want to live any longer.
Ruth was special because she always was a cheerleader but very authentic. He believed her. If she said he could get the strength to do one of his every day tasks, by golly, he did it.
Ruth came and went over the last year and a half. When he was in the hospital during the Hurricane during the summer, it was Ruth who stayed by his side 24/7. She hardly complained although we could tell that it was very stressful and too many hours but she did it and with hardly any sleep came back a day or two later when we were in a bind.
She was also there the last day. She had heard from her employer that dad wasn’t taking his meds. She didn’t realize that he was ending his life, that he decided the evening before that he did not want to inject insulin any longer, that he was ‘done’. She wasn’t told.
She came bouncing down the street toward his house with coffee in hand, towards us, like it was just another day. She saw us, my brother and I, with sick, sad expressions on our faces and knew something was up. She thought that she was going to cheer him up!
But, it was Ruth who was with us to almost the end. He was grateful, I’m sure.
On a lighter note, Ruth! What a beautiful young woman! She should be a model, shouldn’t she? I bet you could hire her!
I promised her that I’d spend some time with her and photograph her. My dad used to remark on how white the whites of her eyes are and her teeth! For sure, these are not brightened in any way! She wanted to be serious but I love the images where she just sparkles. Beautiful girl. I hope these images help her with a few modeling gigs.