i thought i saw my grandmother at the hospital. i was leaving my GI appointment and saw her coming down the hall. not her, i know, but a woman who looked just like her— short linen pants, gray wool cardigan, slight stoop, even the wig looked the same. her nurse was carrying her case folder which had my grandmother’s doctor’s name on the front in block letters. my heart stopped. and then i had to keep walking.
we spent so much time together, not only in life but in that hospital. her taking me to appointments, me taking her to appointments, and later, rushing to the emergency room, and later, hanging out in her hospital room and walking the halls, and last, saying goodbye to her doctors as she left the hospital for the last time, homebound to start hospice.
i loved her. i miss her. i never knew how much she really inspired me— not inspired in that cutesy general old person way, but literally inspired, how her bravery and badassery and calm and determination about her stomach problems and procedures just said to me t, get it together— until the last few months of her life. there was me, with all my anxieties and pains and heavy leaning on my support system and then there was her, one of the first americans ever to get the whipple surgery, taking her meds, doing her preps by herself, exercising, leaving the house every day, making it look easy enough. watching her do it all— in a condition much worse than mine— was basically the only mirror i needed. i miss that mirror, but i was so lucky to have it.