People sometimes ask why I now go by Arden Ruth. It started as a cloaking mechanism, to keep employers and snoops away from my life on the internet. But it’s mainly because I love the name Ruth. I recall growing up how people would laugh when I told them my middle name. “That’s an old lady name,” they would say. Blood would rush to my face, embarrassed, but I still never shied away from it.
Both of my grandmothers are Ruths. By dropping my last name, I never felt that I dishonored my dad’s side but that I honored both by acknowledging the strong women that raised my parents to be the amazing people they are. My maternal grandmother, who I called RuRu, passed away when I was in high school.
My dad’s mom, Ruthie, passed away this morning.
It’s an odd feeling, to lose someone that you haven’t seen in so many years. At first, there was only sadness for my father who just happened to have stayed with me last night. Relief came soon after, as I had been told what she slowly turned into over the past few years, a mere shell of the woman I knew growing up. She hadn’t recognized my father just a month ago, her mind erasing her own son and replacing him with a question mark.
It was time, for sure, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Grief came later when I emailed my boss to let him know. Tears threatened to spill over as I thought back on my memories of her. Images flashed through my mind of riding horses at the farm, eating her homemade pancakes in the morning and enduring the sleepless nights spent next to her as deafening snores escaped her tiny frame.
On the one hand, I’m grateful that I didn’t have to see her at the end, when her deteriorating mind turned her into something I wouldn’t even have recognized. On the other, I’m disappointed in myself for not putting that discomfort aside and making the trip anyways. Maybe she would have remembered me. Maybe she would have smiled at the sight of me. Maybe.
I could drown in an ocean of maybes.
No. For now, I’ll just remember her. I’ll remember her when I see horses. I’ll try (and fail) to make the pancakes I always craved for weeks after visiting her. And when I hear my dad’s snores seeping through the walls at night, I’ll smile instead of the usual groan, because I know exactly where he got that from. Most importantly, I’ll wear the name Ruth with pride and hope that one day I can be half the woman, mother and grandmother that she was to this world.
32 thoughts on “Book of Ruth”
I’m sorry for your loss.
Thanks Cyn. It’s getting harder as the day goes on. Usually, death tends to hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not used to this gradual sink into sadness. Thanks again.
My grandmother was Ruth. My niece is Elanor-Ruth. And then of course there’s Ruthann. Affectionately known as Rutie. Sorry for your loss.
There are so many awesome Ruths in the world 🙂 Thanks Wally. It’s definitely bittersweet as I know she’s not in pain anymore but I still miss her.
I’m so sorry for your loss. It would be so hard to watch someone’s deteriorate. I hope she has peace now.
On another note, I really like the “Book of Ruth” and Arden Ruth has a great ring to it! Both great names.
Thank you Amy! I appreciate that 🙂
Thing is, her legacy lives on not only in your dad, but in you. You’ll recognize it as time passes.
And someday, a relative of yours, who maybe isn’t born yet, will say, “I want to be known as Arden.” And for great reasons.
Wow. Thank you Eli. That means the world right now.
Thank you for being able to write such a great post on what had to be a difficult day, on a sensitive subject.
My dads mother was also named Ruth. She passed when I was only ten, but
(oops! As I was saying…) I’m glad I got the chance to know her.
I’m sorry for you and your fathers loss. Losing a loved one (to dementia) before they’re even gone has got to tough. Ill keep you and yours in my prayers.
Thank you very much. I’m sorry for your loss as well.
So sorry. It’s awful when people fade away like that. It makes you understand why some people would prefer to die young.
Thanks Cutter. I hate that so many have to go through that.
Testing my ability to comment after rebooting!
Oh yay! I can’t remember exactly what I said before but it was something like 1) sorry for your loss and 2) I love the way you are honoring your grandmas and 3) have a SIL Ruth as well as a childhood friend and I never thought of it as an old person’s name.
Haha – Well 1) Thank you 2) Thanks again and 3) I think it’s a pretty bitchin’ name. 🙂 Thanks Stacie! Especially for trying so hard to comment!
I’m all out of grandparents myself, with the exception of one grandfather–who has been shot at least six times (I lost count), and is still in better health than both myself, my uncle, and my mother. If your loss was anything like mine was when I lost all of my grandmothers (one great-grandmother), they’ll be in your thoughts for years to come.
I lost both grandparents on my father’s side years ago. Ironically, before I read your post, I was thinking about them last night. I keep wanting to ask them questions that they’re not here to answer, like “how did you two stay married for over sixty years?” and “what was the world like before you spent decades helping build all of these railroads?” Then, I try to think of what they’d say. Sometimes, I think I know. Other times I’m not so sure.
Either way, I know what it’s like, and am “sorry for your loss”–an overused expression, but it’s nonetheless usually the only one someone who knows what its like, including myself, can come up with.
I’m sorry for your losses as well! Thank you for sharing. It’s tough but knowing she’s not in pain anymore is a good thing.
Your post reminded me of my great-grandmother. I was named Elizabeth after her and when she died, she left me her Bible. It was filled with newspaper articles, funeral service cards, and obituaries. She had only highlighted two things in the scripture – a proverb & the entire Book of Ruth. 🙂
I’m sorry for your loss.
What a great thing to be left. I’m not even religious but I could appreciate being left something that means so much to so many.
Thank you very much for your thoughts!
This is so sweet, Arden. And I’m so sorry for your loss. I love the name Ruth. All of my children have “old people” names and they’re also family names. That connection has always meant so much to me and I think my children get that it’s important too. Grief is weird in that sometimes it drips out a bit at a time instead of rushing out all at once. My grandmother died on Thanksgiving morning two years ago and I still find my heart stopping when I see someone who looks like her in the grocery store. It’s those little bits of memory that hide in the corners of your brain that can sometimes hurt most. Safe travels to you and much comfort to your family during this time of loss. xo
Thanks so much Jenny. You are so sweet 🙂 If I ever have daughters, they’ll be Ruth too. All the females in my family have Ruth. I love it!
I’m so sorry for your loss. My grandmother was a Ruth, too.
There are so many Ruths! At least I’m not alone with my old lady name 🙂 Thanks Michelle.
I’m so sorry for your loss, but what wonderful memories of your grandmother. I hope more such beautiful memories of her come unbidden to you, little gems of joy that reignite her for you. You’ve found such a terrific way to honour both of your grandmothers, it really is such a tribute to them. As Eli said, you are their legacy. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into this precious moment.
Thank you Asha. That means the world to me!
What a wonder memoir you have penned here. I am truly sorry for your loss. When I look at my grandmother, I literally find myself wondering how much time do I have…
Thank you! Treasure your time with her!
Sorry about your gram, Arden. For the record, I love the name Ruth. But I’m a sucker for classic names. Plus, if I remember my Bible (and god help me, I do.. see what I did there) Ruth was kind of a kick ass woman.
Thanks Helena! I’m a sucker for them too 🙂