Houston is an ugly city. I'm a native. I can say that. It's got a beautiful skyline, but the land is flat and built on a swamp. There's just no there, there. But there is one really beautiful spot in the city. That's the Hermann Park/Rice University area. It's covered with green trees, and park space, and if you're standing in the right spot in a building, you can look over this and to the skyline.
My grandmother died tonight. She was 88. She was in a hospital room on the fourth floor at Memorial Hermann Hospital, which is in the Medical Center that borders Hermann Park/Rice Univeristy. The entire family was there. As she died, I couldn't help but look out the window. The sun wasn't yet fully set, so I could still the park, and some joggers. There was a fountain spurting high in the sky, probably from over by the zoo. And in the reflection, I could see my mother and my aunt and my uncles and brother and my sister-in-law and my cousins, and of course, my grandmother in her hospital bed. I couldn't watch. Yet I saw everything. It was kind of the beauty and the ugliness of the life, all together, in one window.
My family's still at the hospital. I couldn't stay. I don't know what this says about me. But I just had to get out. I comforted one of my young cousins the best I could. I listened as my uncle talked past me, into the space over my head in the waiting room. But after that, I just couldn't stay.
I think on it now, and I think Paul McCartney got it right: "And in the end/the love you take/is equal to the love you make." My grandmother took a lot of love, but in the end, she made a lot of love. I just wish that I had been more deserving.