Andy Speaks: Amazed, Overwhelmed and Grateful

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These past few weeks, our family was saddened by the loss of our beloved grandfather. Last Saturday, October 24, 2015 was our last day to said goodbye to our great patriarch and beloved “tatay”. Me and my family was able to catch the first flight to Iloilo via Philippine Airlines and arrived quarter to six in the morning. Upon arriving early in the morning, there are numerous activities going on the wake. Me and my husband also lend our hand in other errands and simple tasks that needs to be done in the house.

I grew up knowing the customs and traditions during funeral and burial rites in the province but up to now I am still amazed and overwhelmed by the close familial ties and the spirit of bayanihan among relatives and neighbors. Everybody has a role to participate in various activities. I have aunts who helped us in organizing church activities and mass for our lolo, uncles who helped in cooking food to be served with guests, grandparents and extended relatives who volunteer for “pangadi” (prayers for the dead), cousins who helped with errands, aunts and neighbors who helped washing the dishes and arranging the kitchen, relatives who provided free water during my lolo’s wake, and extended families offering any help they can provide to our family. Sometimes the overloaded activities feels like more of a fiesta rather than wake. In addition, it became an unexpected family reunion with the number of relatives flying in to province to pay respect for our lolo’s last day. Even family feuds were set aside to give way to those who wants to see our grandfather (but of course there are some relationship you cannot mend and as part of civility, our family allowed everyone to pay respect to our lolo)

My hubby was quite amazed on what he witnessed. He admitted to me that it was his first time to experience attending wake in province and he was in awe how efficient people are working on ensuring that our lolo’s last day is glitch free. He was also amazed by the number of our extended relatives and family friends not to mention the number of people who attended the final mass for our lolo in our town’s church.

I am also deeply grateful to people who expressed their utmost respect and love to our lolo. I had my uncle’s family joined us in our trip to Iloilo to pay their respects in behalf of my uncle (during that time he was still aboard in ship and would not be able to come), my aunt who decided by last minute to book a ticket going home to Iloilo because she told us that our lolo is like her second father and she couldn’t go through the idea of not coming my lolo’s last day and with my lolo’s previous work colleagues who shared few anecdotes and stories about their happy times in their workplace. I learned a lot about my grandfather that made me proud. I am also thankful that I was blessed to have a kind, gentle, cheerful and very sweet grandfather. His passing is a great loss to us but hearing the priest’s homily (in Ilonggo) made me realized that a family that stays united will be harder to break compared to family who goes in separate ways. I used to remember my lolo’s words of wisdom that in a family there are no favorites. Everyone is a favorite son, daughter and apos. His words of wisdom will forever rang in our heads as a guide on building our families and next generation to come.

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