Some Heroes Wear Moccasins

My grandma is my hero, she is the source of my inspiration. I never had the chance to actually remember her, just because she died so early while I was only 3 years old. However, I grew up learning about all the ways in which she helped people in her community as an expert of traditional and herbal medicine. Family friends and people in our neighborhood back in Ethiopia always tell me stories of how regardless of any time of day, any type of situation, if you came knocking at my grandma’s door she will come to aid you. If she can’t aid you she will sit there and hold your hand. She was a selfless and loving woman, who healed so many others but when it came time for her ailment and her fight against uterine cancer, I fear that no one was able to cure her.

I was always told she had a special bond with me. I am her second grandchild but I have always been told that our bond was like that of none other. While my older brother was at school, and my parents were at work, I would sit with my grandma, entertain her for hours, and I would greet people that would come to visit her. It gives me joy that I was the source of happiness during her final moments of life. People that knew me tell me that she always states, “How can I repay her for all that she has done for me.” She felt that while her ailment was incurable, I still healed her a little bit every day with my laughter and my presence.

I think she has repaid me ten-fold through considering how much she has protected me over the years and how much she has inspired me. The end of her life was the beginning of mine, I feel that our paths did not physically cross for as long as I would have wanted, but our bond and my love for her are timeless.

She is someone, who understood the “Joy of Painting,” she found joy and saw the art of what she does. Her love for medicine and learning was so deep that instead of “work” she saw it as “art.” She was always set on learning more than she already knew to perfect her “art” and her “craft.” I say she is my inspiration because she handed over the baton. She handed down her “joy of painting,” as I am currently a biomedical science major, following in her footsteps. My interest in the art of medicine is inspired by her and it’s sad that I’ll never get to tell exactly that.

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