Last week, the wife of legendary Boston Celtics guard Bob Cousy passed away after sixty-three happy years of marriage .
Marie “Missie” Cousy was a frequent attendee at Celtics games during Bob’s career and Cousy during those times was known for his flashy assists.
Before Marie passed away, it was a different assist that Bob was doing for her as she suffered from dementia and Mr. Cousy went beyond the call of duty to help his wife with the disease:
“Our marriage was somewhat contrary to tradition,” he said. “Most couples have the most intensity in the beginning. But I was always working. So we had the best and most romantic part of our marriage at the end. We literally held hands for the last 20 years.”
Missie’s cognitive decline was gradual and began a dozen years ago, Cousy said. She would ask him the same question, over and over. She hallucinated, grew disoriented and struggled with balance. But she always knew her husband, and she bristled at any suggestion that she suffered from dementia.
So 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.”
Of Years of Love, and a long goodbye [Worcester Telegram]
Bob Cousy story will break you heart [Deadspin]
Bob Cousy image courtesy of Getty Images