Paalam, Lola: A Tribute

Its is so difficult to write again especially if one writes about a heart-breaking event for the entire family such as this. I don’t even know where to begin. The past months were trying times for the whole family as my grandma got admitted back to the hospital again and spent most of her days in and out of the intensive care unit. During those times, no prayer was left unsaid each night. All we did was pray for her speedy recovery.

My grandma is a fighter. When my cousins and I were small kids, we used to giver her headaches during nap and meal times. We were left under her care when our parents left for work. She took care of her seven children plus her grandchildren. She just had so much love to give. Sometimes, it made me wonder where all her energy came from. There were too many of us drawing strength, love and attention from her but her supply didn’t run out. It was constant until her last breath. Being married to a soldier, she is fierce like that.

One of our family friends said that I am like my grandma, that I have taken most of her qualities. I guess that’s because I spent most of my growing up days with her. I’ve learned many things from her. I learned how to become prayerful because of her. My grandma is known in our community. When she was younger, she would be called in by neighbours to lead the prayers for those who died. She would always bring us with her. I’ve learned how to pray the rosary as well as the different mysteries at an early age. She was one strict lady. Everyday, at 6pm, she would always stop me and my cousins from playing because it was time to go back home to pray The Angelus. She also led me to become a devotee of the Our Lady of Lourdes. We used to go to church in white dresses with blue ribbon as devotees to Our Lady of Lourdes. My grandma wore the same outfit up to her last day on earth.

My grandma also taught me how to be an entrepreneur. She used to make different Pinoy sweet treats such as bukayo, espasol, polvoron, yema, etc. to make ends meet and to keep herself busier. After school, we would help her wrap these treats and because we wanted to make extra money for our allowance, my brothers and I would bring packs of these treats to school and sell them. I learned how to value hard-earned money because of her. I also learned how to be ‘ma-abilidad’ when it comes to making extra cash.

She also taught me how to become steadfast during times of adversaries. My grandma became everyone’s source of strength when my grandfather left for the US. She’s got 7 children and during that time, one of them had early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, not to mention all the grandchildren left with her day in, day out. She didn’t tire looking after everyone’s welfare and constantly provided for the entire family.

I can go on and on about the many life lessons I’ve learned from her but I suppose the most important thing that I’ve learned is to always put family above all things. No family is perfect for in every family there are different personalities trying to understand and even outshine others sometimes, but at the end of the day, family is family-that despite differences and flaws, one will embrace another because of love.

My grandmother is the glue that holds our family together and right up to her death, she managed to bring all of us together no matter where we are. Now that she’s gone, its feels good that our family had been bonded by her love forever and there’s no trial we won’t overcome for sure. My grandma’s legacy will live on.

To our matriarch, thank you for all the love you have showered us every single day of our lives. Our lives will never be the same without you but knowing that you are up there guiding us in every decision we make and will make, makes all of us a little braver.

Paalam lola, mahal kita.

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