#52: Grandma’s Birthday

 

Today is when my lola turns 74. Or was supposed to, at least.

In my previous blog (which disappeared last November), I talked about how my grandma died, her last wishes, and the other things I wished to have talked with her about. Well, no time for that now.

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I can imagine how things would be today, if she hadn’t passed away: My mom, dad, JP and I would be sitting in the kitchen eating dinner with my grandparents in their house in Bicol. Our two house-helps would be serving us hot soup along with tilapia (milkfish) and green veggies. We would be exchanging stories about how we’re faring here in Oman and how they were doing in the Philippines. My cousins would be with us, spending family time together and catching up on a lot of things at work and at school. We would all be together, and after eating dinner, we would all go out to the balcony to enjoy the fresh, cool night air. It would be a great picture of happiness and love.

Now that she’s gone?

I never got to spend real time with my grandma, since we were in Australia for three years, rarely had time to go to the province when I studied in Manila, and went to Oman last 2008, that being the last time I saw her alive. I watch movies where young teen girls are close to their grandma and get to bond with them, and I now wish I had more time to spend with her. I wish I could’ve done something special for her when she was still living. I wish I could give her one of those nice mother’s day cards I give my mom to show my love and appreciation. In fact, I wish I could’ve done a lot of things.

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(Pictures above taken on my grandparents’ Golden Anniversary. I think this was the last time we got to celebrate something with them. None of us would’ve guessed what was soon to happen, but at least we were able to do something wonderful to remember 50 great years of their marriage… I know I speak for my cousins when I say that all the happy times we shared with lola will not be forgotten.)

But there’s really no point in yearning for things that can’t be done anymore.

Mom told me how my lola somehow knew her time on earth was running out, how she called a trusted friend to write out her last words to her family and friends, how she paid all the debts she’s ever had to people and how she made sure my lolo would have food to eat even after she’s gone. I can picture my grandma setting out to each of these people and trying to spend the last moments with them, ensuring things would be well when she left earth.

I wonder how grandpa felt during her walks? He couldn’t have known, and that’s what I cry for the most. Trusting that someone you love will be there longer than you, but then losing her in a moment. I can’t say how grandpa felt after realizing her death, but I doubt it’s anything less than excruciating pain and heartbreak. I bet it hurts more than cutting yourself with a blade or trying to hang yourself up. I know it leaves a void in you that forever remains empty, that glow of life that disappears one the source is taken away.

I guess no matter how many laughs and smiles my grandpa will have in the future, the word “happiness” won’t be the same. It’ll still be bright for sure, but that special spark would have lost it’s place.

Lola will always hold a special place in my heart. Everything I’ve known and seen her to be is worth remembering, every little detail about her is worth holding on to. Because at the end of the day, what really matters is not her death or the other things she could still be doing right now. The real thing here is the legacy she left behind, the things I can learn from her life on earth. It’s the only way I can keep her memory alive and at the same time be able to move on to what’s ahead. It’s not true that in order to move on, you have to forget the past and start anew. The truth is, it’s better to remember the past in order to understand life better and take it on as a challenge, not a problem.

So lola, I dearly hope you are with our Father right now. You are finally free from the worries and problems on earth, and now included in God’s family in heaven. Mom and dad shared Jesus with you, and I know for sure that if you really accepted Him into your heart, you’re with Him in heaven. I’m so happy about that fact. We’ll all be following sooner or later no doubt, since we can’t escape death, but like my lola, we won’t end up below. Jesus is the key. :)

I miss grandma, and as the song “Bye Bye” (MiMi) goes, “Never knew I could hurt like this, and everyday life goes on I wish I could talk to you for a while, miss you but I try not to cry as time goes by. And it’s true that you’ve reached a better place, still I’d give the world to see your face and be right here next to you, but it’s like you’re gone too soon, now the hardest thing to do is say bye…” She’s with the Father now, and I am comforted with that, still, wouldn’t you want to see someone you love again?

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