Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Hero

So - while perusing the web today - I came across a discussion/contest that asked the question: Who is your role model/hero? I've never really given it much thought - I didn't grow up with any ONE person in my life that made me who I am today - what I'm trying to say is - I was blessed to have MANY MORE than one. My mom and dad - who sacrificed and gave a LOT to me and my brothers and sister. We may have WANTED for more but we never NEEDED more. My grandparents on my moms side - my other grandparents had passed before I was born. My older brothers and sister and their wives and husband - all helped mold and shape me to be the person I am today.

But there is one person in my family who I truly admire and am so lucky to still have her around. My Great Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth just turned 96 this past August and, I guess, she's always been someone I just thought was "cool."

A couple of years back we were at a family wedding and I didn't feel much like dancing, I was in a depressed mood at the time and feeling sorry for my(fat)self. My cousin Janet, Aunt Ruth's daughter, told me the story of how Aunt Ruth met her husband. Now, keep in mind, Ruth is about 5 feet tall and was slim/slender her whole life - just an iddy biddy thing. She was polished and ALWAYS put together - WELL. Never without makeup/lipstick and a fresh manicure. She was the Jackie O in our family.

Well, Aunt Ruth met my Uncle and her Mr. Right one night while dancing - on a table! (and I'm pretty sure it was a prohibition party at that too - but I could be making that up.) She didn't let her inhibitions get the best of her, like I was, and she met a wonderful man. (Who went on to become a DOCTOR) Unfortunately, Uncle Bill died at an early age, from cancer. But that didn't hold my Aunt back. Although she never remarried, she did and still does, live life to the fullest. She has traveled all over the world, by herself and with groups. Up until this summer - when she was 95 - she had her own apartment. It was in a retirement community, but she was self-sufficient.

Then, she hit a rough spell, she fell and broke her ankle and she also developed emphysema. While in the hospital she had some close calls and we thought we were going to lose her and she made the decision (still, on her own) to not be resuscitated if it came to that. Thankfully, it didn't come to that. I believe it's because she had her 96th birthday coming up. Aunt Ruth demanded (in the sweetest way a 95 year old woman can) that a party be thrown for her because she WOULD be there. And this past August, she was!

I recently visited her at the nursing home where she is recuperating. When I got there, she was waiting for me, she wanted to me to take her outside for a "walk." She's in a wheelchair because of her broken ankle and I think this is just killing her. She was wearing a brand new outfit that she got for her birthday, hair and make up done and recently had a manicure. As we strolled though the halls she introduced me to everyone and they all knew that I was coming that day for a visit. She is very proud of her family and let me tell you, I felt like a ROCK STAR because everyone knew my name and was excited to finally meet Ruth's Great Niece!! (I plan on going back weekly to boost my self confidence)

I brought her a new Ohio State Buckeyes T-shirt to wear while she watched the football games this fall. Aunt Ruth is a HUGE OSU fan and this present just made her day. She is looking forward to Christmas and is diligently exercising her ankle so she can walk without crutches when she goes to my cousins house on Christmas day. I don't know how much longer I'll have my Aunt Ruth around, but I suspect it will be at least after Christmas, since she has made this her goal.

She is truly a hero and inspiration to me.