Me and Mom, 1957 or early '58.
Aw, I just turned to NBC to see the usual Sunday morning fare, the Chris Matthews Show and then Meet the Press. It's early June though and thus the French Open was on instead.
Exactly fourteen years ago, a Sunday in early June 1999, I watched the same tennis tournament on TV with my Mom. She was an avid tennis fan, and her "boy" Andre Agassi was two sets down. You only need three sets out of five to win, so it wasn't looking good.
Mom was ill, quite ill. It had been a struggle to get her to the family room but she was insistent that she get out of bed and not watch TV in her room. We watched together. Agassi won the third set, so the Open continued. Agassi won the fourth set so it was tied! I don't think either of us really thought he'd do the Great Thing and win the Fifth and final set, too, coming all the way back from 0-2, but suddenly he did! I remember him kissing the clay court the second he won. My mom had tears in her eyes because her "adopted son" as she laughingly called Andre, had won. I had tears in my eyes because I also realized for the first time the Inevitable was upon us.
I helped my mom back to her room—she was smiling and laughing even as she had to increasingly lean on me, metaphorically and literally, her weakening body just not working for her anymore. That was the last Open she watched. It was the last time she watched anything from the family room. From that point on she didn't leave her room. I moved a recliner into her room and we watched TV together while she was awake. We listened to opera at 3am if she wished. I slept in that recliner most nights so she wouldn't be alone. Just ten days after Agassi's amazing comeback win she was gone, dying of an inoperable brain tumor and cancer which had spread throughout her body. In less than three months total, she was diagnosed in early March and died in mid-June of the same year, she had gone from delivering Meals-on-Wheels to senior citizens, to needing full-time nursing care at home for herself. She wished to die at home and I gave her that final wish, just as I had for my Dad thirteen years beforehand. Both of them died as peacefully as possible in their own room, in their own house, in their own time.
So the French Open is happening right now, 14 years later. Rafa is leading Ferrer in the second set, having won the first. He's not unstoppable like an oncoming freight train, but he's damn close. Like Life.
Ultimately we ARE stopped, we all are, but we celebrate the wins when we get them. We learn from our mistakes. We are capable of Comebacks. We do extraordinary things when called upon. We live Life until our very last breath.