In the summer of 2006, we held a surprise birthday party to honor my mother who was celebrating her 80th birthday. Just before Christmas that year, she suffered a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). We might have lost her.
Diagnosed with a genetic blood disorder, she received appropriate treatment which seemed incidental: a small incision in Mother’s jugular vein, an Inferior Vena Cava Filter (IVC) implanted to avert pulmonary embolism, and daily anticoagulants. I think she got two stitches. In reality, the condition was not so incidental, and when my mother vaulted off the hospital bed to leave, the doctor gasped, fearful one of the clots might be loosed and immediately strike her dead … but my mom refuses to live in fear.
Watching TCM‘s Shirley Temple features the other night (Heidi and The Little Princess), I realized both story-lines parallel Ruthe’s early life. In both films, the central character is suddenly displaced, but she never despairs … she keeps her chin high, her shoulders back and a smile on her face. She brightens the corner wherever she is. In another film, The Little Colonel, the main character (played by Temple) receives an honorary regimental commission. Throughout her film career, Shirley represented the model “soldier” for boys and girls everywhere. How appropriate a description of my mom! Ruthe’s dad died when she was six; within weeks, she was enrolled in boarding school, a place that would be her “home” for the next eleven years. As a young adult, she worked for the Naval Supply Depot, doing her part on the home-front to help our troops win WWII. She birthed six children, buried one, and has faced every challenge in her life with the grit and determination of a child “soldier.”
She’s such an amazing woman and worthy of great admiration. What a gift! If you know her, I’m confident you agree.