When Loretta moved from assisted living to nursing care at age 92, she knew the space around her bed would be smaller. She had to choose which framed photos to take with her. She selected a group photo of her three children, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren taken a few years ago at her 90th birthday party.
On the wall in front of her bed, her family placed Loretta’s university diplomas, her law degrees and a certificate designating her qualification to argue cases at the Supreme Court. So much of Loretta’s identity related to those accomplishments. She had been in the vanguard of women who had a career and raised a family before the two generations that followed her considered it commonplace.
While Loretta lived in the assisted living area of the home, she could still move around, meet the other people , eat in the dining room and participate in social activities. Now, she had trouble swallowing and needed to be fed with a tube. She had never been a whiner. Her mind was sharp: she knew she had to do this if she wanted to stay alive. Her first great granddaughter was taking the bar exam; Loretta wanted to live to congratulate her. Loretta stared at the diplomas on the wall in front of her and savored her memories.
Loretta is leaving a legacy for her family which no amount of money could have provided. In life, and now moving towards death, she is doing it her way. Frank Sinatra would have loved her!