Tuesday, October 19, 2004

When real life interferes, it's never good.

I was supposed to travel to Kansas City last weekend for my monthly home game with the gang at King Lucky's house, plus some marathon casino poker. I had taken Monday off of work, so I was ready for some serious poker. Unfortunately it never happened, but it's a very small disappointment.

I was on the phone with King Lucky Friday night, sweating him in a Stud8 tournament on Poker Stars. I was enjoying the action and increasing my Stud knowledge at the same time. King Lucky was hanging in there, stealing hands here and there to stay in front of the blinds. I was on my speaker phone and he was on his, and he told me he was going to step away from the phone for a minute. Not unusual, he sneaks out for a smoke occasionally. A few moments later I heard some noises on the other end of the phone, and then I heard touch tones. Only three numbers, and it sounded like 911. "Uh-oh," I thought to myself. 911 is never good. "I'm still here," I said, knowing that something was going on. "I need to go, something's wrong with my Mom," he said. He was very clearly rattled, forgetting that I was even on the line. I hung up, but I knew things were really REALLY bad.

King Lucky has been taking care of his mother for more than 5 years. Every day he would get her out of bed, move her to her TV room, feed her, basically do everything for her. Once in a while after he put her to bed at night, he would head out to the casino for some gambling. That's the real reason for our late night poker room adventures. He wasn't able to leave during the day because he had to take care of his mom. He works from home, so his days are spent working and taking care of her. The casino is pretty much the only outside the home experience he has longer than an hour or so trip to the supermarket. It's the only time he socializes with other people in person, except for the monthly poker game he hosts. Things hadn't been going well with her lately. She was not eating, and practically wasting away. He told me his back was bothering him after he had to literally carry her to the doctor recently when she had a problem with her leg.

He called me back Saturday Morning, because he knew I was going to leave to drive to Kansas City around noon, and he wanted to catch me before I left. He told me that he checking on his Mom when she mysteriously passed out. She was completely non-responsive so he called the paramedics and did CPR until they arrived. They could not revive her and she passed away that night.

In one way it is sort of a relief, as it seemed his mother was suffering and was a great burden on him. I never once heard him complain about having to take care of her. But I knew there were things that he wanted to do that he wasn't able to because of his responsibilty. But it is still very difficult to lose your mom. He also lost his father earlier this year. I can't imagine how difficult it is to go through that kind of thing twice in one year.

I talked to King Lucky today, just before he left his home to travel to St. Louis for the funeral. He seems to be handling things very well, but I wouldn't expect anything differently from him. I'm not sure how I would handle the situation he has been in for the last year, or even the last 5 years. I do know for sure that I never met anyone that handled the resposibilty better and more nobly than he did. I can't think of anyone I respect more than I respect him for that.

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