It was a few minutes before 9 PM on the evening of June 21, 2011.  I was walking about the yard enjoying a bug-free communion with the evening air.  I had just walked through the vegetable garden and was heading inside when I looked up and say the familiar sight of Ruth’s light shining through.  I knew she was likely watching baseball or the “Wheel” or working on a cross word.

I had made some cookies and would take her a couple after a while.  We would sit together and if there was a ball game on we would talk about that.  She was quite knowledgable about sports and specially Yankee baseball.  She had many adjustments to make when she came to live with us, but none as difficult as the idea that she, a lifelong Yankee fan, now resided in Red Sox land.  When the Yankees and Sox payed each other we could probably be heard in the next town.

I am not a true sports fan but she was.  She loved the game.   She knew the players and all about them.  As a 13 year old girl recovering from polio, she spent hours with doctors who taught her to play bridge and listen to baseball.  This produced a life long passion for both.  We never got closer to bridge than rummy.  I can remember one night as I pondered my hand, she said, “Jerry, you can’t change them by looking at them…”  She was like that.  We all broke up.

A few weeks prior to this night she had made a critical decision for her life: she stopped getting blood transfusions, the frequency of which had increased from about once a month to every week and were now going to be necessary about every 5 to 6 days.  She suffered from meyodysplastic syndrome, a leukemia-like blood condition that could be treated but not cured.  She was very much aware of the consequences of halting the transfusions.  It would be the beginning of a slow decline toward the end of her life.  

At home, after a few weeks, she lacked the energy to participate in the usual after dinner rummy game.  We knew then that the end was near.    

She died on July 10 2011, just a few weeks after the photo was taken.  She was surrounded by her things, in her room with Carol Ann and I holding her hands.  

She showed the way.

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