This is how I am feeling right now: grief, loss and longing for the old times.. My grandfather passed away last Friday, Oct. 09, 2015 due to his COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). Until now I cannot grasp how should I take the news. My family kept me updated from the past few weeks and have already expressed their fears and told me the real condition of my lolo. With the information provided to me I should have braced myself but the moment I heard the news I feel like my world is shattering into pieces.
My parents moved to Laguna a few decades ago and we grew up without any closest relatives within the vicinity. At an early age I am aware what it was like to be independent. There were times I envy my playmates when their grandparents visit their home on weekends, while my family does the annual visit to our province. My parents always saved up for our annual trip to Iloilo to visit our relatives and spend summer vacations. The time spent with my grandparents and other relatives were precious. Bonding with them is squeezed-in few days stay in the province. Growing up I know when I was a kid my lolo had a special place in my heart. I even cried for him when boarding planes and ships because I am going to miss him and I have to wait for another year to see him again. I think that is one of the reasons why I looked forward going to Iloilo aside from summer vacations. I will always remember his magnetic smile that shows his chinky eyes, his sweetness, thoughtfulness and being fond of dogs.
If my memories served me right, I can still remember all good things about my lolo and I want to cherish it forever.
- I used to remember how lolo loves his 50+ dogs. Whenever my lola would look for my lolo, we would just follow the trail where the most number of dogs were sleeping including my lolo who slept beside his dogs.
- My lolo is very fond of his dogs. He knows each dogs he owns (there were more than 50 of them). His dogs tag along whenever my lolo is doing household chores and walking in the rice fields. I even remembered that when I was a kid, we would know that tatay will arrive in a short while because his dogs are all barking and waiting outside the gate for his arrival.
- I used to remember how he makes us toys out of bamboo. Me and my cousin would play sword fight out of bamboo sticks (thankfully no one got hurt while playing)
- My lolo used to work for a supermarket in Iloilo city, every time he goes home, he would give each of his grandchildren with bags of goodies (candies, marshmallows and biscuits)
- My lolo was once a varsity player for football (my dad told us once). When he was still more active and stronger, he used to play football with us. Then we will run around the rice fields tossing, kicking and throwing the ball
- When we were little, we love sledding in the hills behind my lolo’s house (take note hindi uso ang dog at snow sledding dito sa Pinas but we have our own way of doing the sled). My lolo would make our “sled” made of coconut branch. He will cut the leaves and clean the sides of the coconut branch then off we go to the hills for the thrilling ride.
- I used to remember during the early days, when lola passed away, lolo was visiting my lola’s grave everyday. He would go to the cemetery before and after his work at Iloilo city. He would always bring flowers and candles. Sometimes people mistakes my lolo for a caretaker because they always see my lolo cleaning my lola’s grave everyday. If not cleaning my lola’s grave, he would sit on the grave and stay there for a few minutes. (Anong sabi ng true love stories ngayon?)
- My lolo visited us in Laguna when I was elementary. I can still remember how ecstatic I was when he gave me my favorite santol (taken from my lolo’s backyard) and my favorite brand of meatloaf. Imagine, I even brought the santol to our school so I can show it off to my classmates because my lolo have arrived in the province. (Ang babaw ng kaligayahan ko)
- My lolo is very fond of his grandchildren. I know he is proud that all of his grandchildren already graduated from college and all of them are professionals now.
- My lolo has the sweetest voice. Even when mad, you can still hear his sweet accent. But never in my 30 years existence in Earth that I have seen my lolo got mad on us. I will truly miss his terms of endearment to me
I know there are so many things I am going to miss about my lolo. I am blessed and thankful that I have the chance to spend few times with lolo during my quick visit to Iloilo last June and he had seen and met my son prior to his passing. In addition, I am thankful that my son was able to spend two months in the province this year and get to bond with our lolo. It was not easy to say goodbye but I don’t want to see my lolo suffer more. I know that he is now with our Lord and finally in the arms of my lola. Who says there is no forever in heaven? I think lolo and lola already met in heaven… at last.