Monday, November 19, 2007

From Supreme Court to Sainthood

I love the Supreme Court. To me, they are the coolest geeks in the whole US of A. My dream is that one day I'll be in Los Angeles, minding my own business, when Jay Leno will thrust a microphone in my face and ask me to name one member of the Supreme Court. I, of course, will dazzle him by naming all nine members of SCOTUS. I will then promptly be edited out of the Jaywalking segment because the producers only like to show people who are really really stupid.

Last year, a lawyer friend of mine (yes, lawyers have friends) had a case that was up for consideration by our nation's highest court. He said that if they chose to hear his arguments, I could go with him to the proceedings. I was so excited and, ultimately, so disappointed when his case was rejected. I had visions of a Rocky Horror-esque experience, where I could sit in the audience wearing my Ruth Bader Ginsburg lace dickie, and yell out my opinions right along with the justices. Perhaps it was better that I couldn't attend. But, I would have liked each of them to autograph my Supreme Court trading cards...well, if I actually owned Supreme Court trading cards.

After justices retire, it is rare that you read about them in the news. Usually, because they wait until they are almost dead to vacate their position. In Sandra Day O'Connor's case, she left the bench to take care of her husband who had been suffering from Alzheimer's for the past 17 years. Since then she has kept a fairly low profile. But, as detailed in a touching news article this week, she has decided to speak out.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - When her husband of 55 years began seeing another woman, former US Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor did not begin high-profile divorce proceedings or condemn his infidelity.

Indeed, it was O'Connor herself who recently went public with the news that her husband John, 77, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, had struck up a relationship with a woman patient at a care facility in Arizona.
My initial reaction was quite understandably, "What the blazing hell?!" She left her dream job to take care of her husband and he stabs her in the back by taking up with some nursing home floozy! Then I read further.
Before meeting his new romantic interest, who also suffers from Alzheimer's disease, John O'Connor was depressed and had talked of suicide, his son said.
OK, now I'm starting to feel bad.
The former judge chose to reveal her husband's "infidelity" to raise awareness of a lesser-known side of the degenerative brain disease, but did not comment publicly about the new woman in the life of her long-time partner. Experts say it is not uncommon for Alzheimer's patients, who suffer memory loss and tend to live for the moment, to embark on new romantic relationships.
The article goes on to talk about the stress of this phenomenon on loving families. It's heartbreaking and it's one of those stories that makes you wonder what you would do in a similar situation.
"I applaud her. I believe that her support is noble and selfless. She is really looking to support the health of her husband and is concerned only at this point with his happiness and well-being," said Dessel.

"You have to be like Justice O'Connor. You have to be selfless."
Sandra Day O'Connor is a saint. Put this woman back on the Supreme Court. Sorry, Justice Alito, last hired, first fired. Any person who can put aside her own feelings for the good of others is the type of person I want deciding the laws of our land.

I honestly don't know if I could be that selfless. My husband would probably look at me everyday and think, "Who is this strange woman who keeps coming into the nursing home and bitch-slapping my girlfriend?"

I can't even begin to convey to you how awful it is to have a loved one forget who you are. My mother died of a brain anyeurism and, for the few weeks she was in the hospital, she had memory problems. The saddest day of my life was when she looked at me and said, "Who are you?" I was lucky, however, because her memory came back before she passed away.

My heart goes out to Sandra Day O'Connor and her family. That being said, have you seen Samantha Who? the hilarious new ABC show about a woman who has amnesia and tries to reconnect with the loved ones she no longer knows. It really is funny. Seriously. My timing may be bad but the show is quite entertaining.

1 comment:

lisa said...

You left out the well-known fact that they've got some great tail in nursing homes. The man is only flesh and blood.