A long goodbye and the woman who taught me how complicated — and how resilient — love can be.
Forced out into the world after her husband died so much earlier than anyone expected, for twenty-five years my grandmother was a social worker for the county of Los Angeles. In her bright orange 1970 VW beetle named Clementine she commuted hours each day to the iconic County General building, immortalized by the opening of the soap opera General Hospital. I was so proud as a child to point to the TV and imagine my grandmother there. I’m not sure specifically what she did inside that building, but I do know that either A) she was not suited for this task in the first place, and it confirmed every stereotype she ever had about people who didn’t look like her. Or, B) she had never thought much about difference, and two decades immersed on the front lines of poverty slowly eroded her compassion for her fellow citizen. I’m a philanthropist, and I loved my grandmother, and so I tend to lean toward option B.
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