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The Spirit of Ubuntu

My father-in-law Ron is 88 years old, a member of what Tom Brokaw called The Greatest Generation, those who survived the Great Depression and went on to fight World War II — in Europe, in Ron’s case. Time is taking its toll now on all of those folks: limited mobility, slower reaction times, often reduced vision. It can happen to all of us who live that long.

Ron gets around with a walker, but it doesn’t make for a wide range of wandering — in fact, he’s largely housebound, which is not a very stimulating environment. I can hear it sometimes in his voice on the phone: just tired, nothing interesting going on. He lives 500 miles away so we can’t visit frequently, but the VA has arranged for a home helper, a Haitian man called R.C., to come in three times a week. Ron is fiercely independent and resented R.C.’s presence at first, but finally acknowledged the need.

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