Ricky had always been a very active person, sometimes perpetual motion personified. I had eventually moved to Rittman and was 40 miles away from the rest of the family, with my own growing family to raise. My older and younger sister also lived at home, so they took care of Ricky's needs. Bev also had two children living there, so Deirdre, our younger sister took care of Ricky's needs. But Deirdre started having seizures too. At the time they were somewhat manageable. Deirdre also had a part time job at K-Mart.
Ricky had plenty of people to take care of him, and my mom would make sure he had all he wanted. As I posted on Seek Him First, he loved going to church, and folks from the church took him to baseball games and movies.
In August, 1986, things will change for Ricky. I will give my view. My two girls were spending the night with my parents at their camper, which was at Sleepy Hollow Lake, in Brunswick. That afternoon after I got home from work, Kathy and I along with Adam, who was less than a year old at the time went to Brunswick to get the girls. We were greeted by my dad, who handed me a prescription bottle and some money. He told me to take the money and pills to my mom, who was back in Cleveland. The night before at home, Ricky went into a seizure while throwing up, aspirated on the vomit and was now in intensive care. He wasn't expected to live the night. I went there and saw my brother attached to tubes and wires. The only way he could communicate was by facial expressions. I was scared. I went from the hospital to my parents house and on the way stopped at a tent revival. I was using crutches to walk, but left the crutches in my car as I didn't want prayer at the time. I asked for prayer and told the group why and they started intercessed loudly on Ricky's behalf. After I left there I saw a billboard that said, "A family that prays together, stays together." How appropriate!
After the incident, Ricky's gross motor abilities gradually diminished. My mom and older sister would take of his daily needs as they both had experience as nursing home workers. My parents wanted to keep Ricky home as long as possible. He was receiving SSI and Medicaid, so it wasn't a big burden financially on the family, but he did need constant care, as he couldn't up and get anything that he would need. My family provided him with all his needs and many of his wants. He watched his beloved Cleveland teams whenever he had the chance and was able to talk sports with anybody and educate most people on stats.
Last thing my mother wanted was to put Ricky in a nursing home. She thought he would die in days if he had to go to any assisted nursing center. Mom and Bev were able to see to all his health care needs. Bev had promised mom that she would take care of Ricky after my parents were gone. But we never know what will happen tomorrow.
September, 1996: Bev was at work when she started losing her balance. She was taken to the hospital and eventually diagnosed with brain cancer. Less than six months later, she lost her battle and passed from this life.
My father was suffering from congestive heart failure and was unable to assist with Ricky's care. Mom and Deirdre did all they could, but mom was starting to suffer with COPD. September, 1999, right after Ricky's 41st birthday, my parents made the decision they were trying to put off for years.
Next: March 10, 1979