Through the Pages, a Novel About Illness from Childhood Memories

Through the Pages, a Novel About Illness from Childhood Memories
  Editor's note: Our IBD columnist, Judy Walters, will have a new book out Tuesday in which the central character has multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, she recalls how MS affected her own family during her childhood. I was only 10 when my grandmother died, but I remember so much about her. I remember that our family had dinner every Sunday at my grandparents’ house. I recall she used a wheelchair to get around, and that the seat was flimsy and even I, as a young child, made it jiggle as I sat down on it, trying to make it go. (I was not successful.) She couldn’t talk, but she laughed silently at my father’s corny jokes.  I remember that she looked just like my mother and, because I look just like my mother, I looked just like my grandmother, too. We had the same fine, jet black hair. She wore hers back with a headband. My mother kept mine short so as not to have to worry about style. Starting when I was about 8, my grandmother was more in the hospital than out. We ate McDonald’s on the nights my mother was at the hospital with her, and I found that exciting, because otherwise we never ate out. Soon she could no longer come to the dinner table on those Sunday nights, even though the rest of us still did. She could no longer sit up. She stayed on the couch, the only place I ever saw her anymore, practically the only place I’d seen her my entire life. My mother tried to get the four of us kids to sit next to her on the couch so she could take a picture. I remember that I was scared of my grandmother,
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