Hospital Etiquette

"Ah, can't leave the toilet so sloppy. So many other people waiting here, unacceptable.." -- she wiped the seat slowly, thoroughly, and shuffled back to the bed. I let my hands hover closely by her side, and watched as she let the white sheets envelope her body again. I did not know that her lesson of simple etiquette would be one of the last cogent pieces of my grandmother to plant themselves in my memory.

I am still learning how to mourn for her as we watch travel shows on TVB, as we stroll familiar paths around Kissena Lake. She still asks me every time we part whether I will be home for dinner and I say yes. I won't come back until the next week, and she won't cook nor remember.

I want to let go of who she was so I can love her fully as she is, rather than fulfilling an obligation to care for the woman who put so much care into my being. Even now I look down and find myself muddled in a misery I can't explain, much less escape. Minced garlic, park benches, mugwort on the sidewalks -- the triggers are less overwhelming now, but the ache remains.

Maybe it is mostly regret, anger at my family and self for not seeing her suffering before she was almost gone.