Marie "Missie" Cousy, the wife of NBA legend Bob Cousy, passed away last week. The two had been married for 63 years. After Missie started suffering from dementia about a dozen years ago, Cousy dedicated most of his time to taking care of her.
Cousy opened up about dealing with Missie's condition to Dianne Williamson of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
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.
Today, Cousy is consoled by memories of his bride and the knowledge that she was happy until the end of her days. Ever the class act, he marveled that the son of poor French immigrants could enjoy such a charmed, fortunate life — athletic fame, loving daughters, grandchildren and a wife he adored. Only when asked what he missed most about Missie did he struggle for composure.
"I can't put the pills out in the morning," he said. "And I can't care for her anymore."
Photo: Charles Krupa/AP