I still find it unfathomable that I have no more grandparents waiting for me to come home. Barely two weeks ago, my paternal grandmother, my last living grandparent, succumbed to coma and eventually death after suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke. What’s even more even more difficult to comprehend was the rate at which life surprised us. Lola Flor just celebrated her 79th birthday last February 23 and I was even able talk to her through the phone. Three days later, our entire family was dumbfounded with the news that she suffered a stroke.
On the last night of the wake, our family organized a short program to honor Lola Flor. The family members were requested to share their fondest memories of her. I placed myself then on a time machine trying to recall significant moments, and I can’t help but be sad because I can barely recall them. During the program proper, I cried ever more, because I gathered that among the grandchildren, I was the only who never had a chance to live her. As I hear my brothers, uncles, and extended relatives speak, I realized that there were many facets of my grandmother that I never knew of.
I knew she gave birth to my father at a young age. Yet, I didn’t know that while taking care of her own children, she also attended to her siblings and even to to her nieces and nephew. She also took a lot of other people under her wing, the testament of which are the people who were present during her wake introducing themselves as either “adopted son” or “adopted daughter”.
I wondered then, am I no different from a stranger? Every time I go home to Bicol, I visited her. Yet, I never asked or learned about these aspects of her life. I never got to ask how I behaved as a child, or if she remembered the days when I would spend some days at her home during summer vacations. As my uncle had carefully laid out during his eulogy, “I was probably very busy growing up and thinking about my own I life that I forgot Lola Flor was also growing old.”
I feel sad that I wasn’t to able to appreciate Lola Flor more when she was alive. However, I am still happy and thankful because in ever in her death, I still got to know her more or perhaps even better.
Lola Flor, I hope you are at peace now. And… forgive your grandchild for being so callous and carefree.