The person who picked my name passed away just before Christmas. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October, while I was out in Drumheller. When I got back to Calgary for internal, the question was, would I take a few days off to see her while she was still healthy enough? Well, the choice was made to delay going until Christmas. I knew, of course, that that was risky.
She passed away 36 hours before I got there. She was looking forward to seeing me, but I didn't take a couple of days off to give her something to be happy about in her last hours.
I spent Christmas cleaning up her apartment. All the things that meant so much to her, now they were being sold off or given away. I found her old photos, back from when she was a medical student and then a resident. Life seemed full of promise back then; not everything worked out. I realized that a generation later, I live a life remarkably like hers.
I left the apartment for the last time. As a kid, that place felt like home to me. Now, there's no going back. Funny, eating at restaurants where my great grandfather liked to go 100 years ago, I wondered, will I one day say, "Your great-great grandfather liked to eat the lüngerl here"?