I can’t believe I had not come across this before, but I stumbled upon a YouTube video from the day Mom and Dad picked up Mom’s lottery jackpot check in Albuquerque. This was in 2010, when Dad still lived at home, but was sinking deeper into dementia.
It’s just a very brief clip, but Dad seems so lost, like an actor that stumbled into a scene without a script. There’s a misery and sadness in his posture and in his eyes that is heartbreaking.
What is so sad is that this should be one of the happier moments of my parents’ lives. Mom was trying to savor the moment, but she knew that no amount of money could save Dad’s mind. Several months later, Dad would become ill and never return home. Instead of a vacation, the winnings went to pay for him to live out his last months in a nursing home.
Of course, as a family, we were grateful that we could place Dad in a decent place, despite the issues that the facility had. Without that lottery jackpot, Mom and Dad would have been forced to go through their meager savings and ended up on Medicaid, where the level of care would have been sub-par at best.
So yes, we are thankful. But I know Dad in his normal state would have been grinning and talking about the “luck of the Irish” in this video clip. I’m just sorry he couldn’t fully enjoy a lucky moment for our family.