You may have noticed the pictures of the same couple throughout my website. Those are my grandparents, Joe and Ruth Moore. Like most people, I was very close to my grandparents and have lots of great memories of spending time with them as a kid and with my family over the years.
Joe was born in 1918 and died in 2003. Ruth was born in 1920 and died in 2010. They were young when they married right after the Great Depression. Joe went off to war, along with four other brothers. When he came back, they started a family, having two sons and a daughter. They lived in Berkeley. Joe worked at a foundry and Ruth worked as a maid. Like a lot of folks in their generation, they worked very hard to provide a loving home for their family and succeeded in doing so. Their children all grew up happy and appreciative of everything they had.
Joe and Ruth eventually retired to Warrenton in 1981. They spent their golden years surrounded by loving friends and family, playing cards, traveling, and generally enjoying life each and every day. They were terrific together. I was in college when I got a call from my Dad one night. He told me that they had gotten in a fight and the police had been called. My grandmother had begun to have dementia and as a result, she imagined that things were happening that were not happening. Within a month, she had to be moved to a nursing home, where her dementia quickly worsened. Meanwhile, my grandfather struggled to live life alone in a home that he had always lived at with Ruth. He was dutiful, however and visited my grandmother as often as possible. He had always been a vigorous man, with a strong back and a strong heart. But his health declined pretty quickly and he died in 2003. By this time, my grandmother’s dementia had worsened to the point that she was not really able to understand her husband was gone. My father and his siblings did everything they could to comfort her. Eventually she went on Medicaid to assist in the cost of her care. But her condition worsened and worsened to the point that she did not recognize anyone. I can still remember the day I visited her and she just smiled at me but had no idea who I was. Dementia is such a terrible disease in that regard. It wipes away memories to the point that your loved ones view you as just another person.
Having pictures of my grandparents on my website is not a marketing gimmick. It’s simply a way to honor them as people and for me to honor them as people who I loved dearly. It’s also a reminder to us all, however, that we are all young at some point in life. That we experience life and eventually get to the point where we need our family around us. Part of what we can do to make things easier is to plan for what happened to Joe and Ruth. To create an estate plan and make everything as easy as possible as we all age. We owe that to our families, but more importantly, to ourselves.