Boston Celtics legend and NBA Hall of Famer Bob Cousy talked in detail about his late wife, Missie, for a story in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. And boy, is it a tear-jerker.
Bob and Missie, who passed away last week after battling dementia for more than a decade, had been together for 63 years. They were high school sweethearts and got married shortly after Cousy graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, where he led his team to an NCAA championship in 1947.
As a star player for the Celtics and the Cincinnati Royals, and later as a coach for the Royals, Cousy was on the road often during the early years of his marriage. For much of the early childhood of their two daughters, Marie and Ticia, Missie was essentially a single mother.
"I was busy playing a child's game," Cousy told Dianne Williamson of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "I thought putting a ball in a hole was important. Looking back, I should have participated more in the lives of my family. But my girls were in the best possible loving hands."
Missie began showing signs of dementia about 12 years ago, and ever since Bob has devoted much of his life to making her feel comfortable. Williamson has some of the incredible details:
"...Cousy worked hard to create the perception that his once-independent wife was vital and healthy. Because she believed she could still drive, he shipped her station wagon to their place in Florida each winter so she could see it in the driveway. Artificial red flowers were planted in her garden. He did all the household chores and let her think she performed them herself.
"My dad provided an environment that allowed her, in her mind, to be a fully functioning adult," said daughter Marie. "It was amazing to watch."
The couple's social life vanished as Missie's symptoms worsened. Other than a Thursday night "out with the boys" and some quick rounds of golf, Cousy spent all of his time alone with his bride. He watched "General Hospital" with Missie and patiently answered the same questions. He stocked the fridge with her favorite candy, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. At night, she'd cover him with a blanket and he'd stroke her arm.
"I love you honey," he'd say.
"I love you, too," Missie would always reply.
To read Williamson's entire profile, see here.
(H/T to Deadspin)
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