I know I said I wouldn’t write here anymore. But for once, I think I have something meaningful to say, that I don’t mind random people visiting this blog to read.
As of 9:17 PM today, I no longer have any grandparents.
My paternal grandmother, my last remaining grandparent, passed away.
I shouldn’t be surprised, to be honest. She was old. She had outlived all her siblings (and there were many of them), and her health had been deteriorating for a while. My grandfather had become extremely worried about her ~6 years ago, when her condition started worsening. Through a strange twist of fate, it was he who would succumb first to illness.
When I found out about the news, I looked up the screenshots I had taken of her from the last time we talked. They were taken two and a half months ago. I didn’t think it was that long ago. It’s just easy, I guess, to be caught up in the everyday busy-ness of things. She lived in the province, a plane ride away from Manila, and I would only get to talk to her when my dad visited, because he would bring his iPad. And I hadn’t known how sick she had gotten…
I took those screenshots because I wanted to have some kind of memory of her. I guess I could tell, subconsciously, that she didn’t have much time left. In the screenshots, you can see my face in the corner, with reddish eyes, trying not to cry. I remember feeling shocked and saddened when she first came on the screen. She was like a withered husk of the person I had grown up with, barely speaking, barely reacting.
She had always been feisty and blunt. One of my favorite stories is how she stalked my grandfather when they first started dating. To figure out if he still had feelings for his ex, she forged a letter from his ex-lover asking him to come back. She then offered to mail his reply for him — ‘course she just read the letter for herself, gleefully discovering that my grandfather told his ex that he was over her and had started seeing someone else.
During their marriage, my grandfather would gloat to her about how his ex had asked for him back. She let him, for a while. Ha!
She would always poke fun at herself saying she wasn’t good looking at all. That extended to her children. She would tell me that she didn’t understand how girls would like my dad because he (literally) had an oversized head. (He really does. He has a hard time finding hats. But I digress.) But her grandchildren… we, her grandchildren, were the most gorgeous beings to walk the earth. We were so guapo and guapa. She would always exclaim that every single one of her grandchildren was goodlooking.
That’s what I miss about grandparents… they always think that you’re the most amazing, most fabulous, best looking person ever. They firmly believe that everything will work out for their grandchildren. I mean, parents do think the world of their children — but it’s a bit more grounded in reality, so to speak. They’re more aware of the things that could go wrong, they’re painfully aware of their children’s shortcomings and worry about their children’s futures… but grandparents seem to have none of that. Every grandchild is a shining star and their future is glittered in gold, no questions asked. Their love is not punctuated by bouts of discipline or tough love — it’s pure, unadulterated spoiling.
Although my last image of my grandmother showed her with diabetes claiming half of her leg, and age weakening her body and confining her to her bed, I think I’ll always remember her as she used to be. I remember her going out of her way to prepare my favorite dishes and the jams she used to make. I remember taking photos of her and my grandfather, trying to make it look like wedding pre-nup photos, and how schoolgirl-y she seemed then. I remember her at her 50th wedding anniversary — all our extended family had come, she was so pleased. I remember watching her work at her dentist clinic. And I remember how blunt and unintentionally hilarious she was and how she had this funny way of laughing.
I’m going to miss having grandparents. But I’m grateful, very grateful, to have experienced this kind of love in my life.