Monday, November 26, 2007

Walk Slowly

In my 24 years of existence, I've observed two kinds of grandparents: those who are passive - the type that you kiss or bless when you arrive at their house and kiss goodbye when you leave their house; and those who are really active - the kind of granparents who strive to develop a personal relationship with their grandchildren. My grandparents were the active ones. There are 21 of us grandchildren and yet, our grandparents made it a point to connect with each of us. Our grandparents held us together. They kept the family so close that I feel like I have 7 sets of parents and 21 siblings.

We recently mourned the passing of my dear grandmother (yes, the one pictured playing Wii in a previous post), and instead of dwelling too much on the loss, we all resolved to celebrate her life. We remembered the fun times we had with her and how we felt so blessed to have had her in our lives. On the last night of the funeral, we paid her a tribute. For me, this tribute was more for those of us who were left behind. This was our chance to say out loud how we really felt, how thankful and how grateful we all are. There was not a dry eye that night.

For our part, the grandchildren, we wrote a letter which was delivered by my eldest cousin.

Dear Mamang,

We will always remember you as the grandmother who never failed to make her love for her grandchildren felt. We will always remember the times when asked all of us to sleep in your house in Mandaluyong. Waking up next morning to wait for the Taho vendor, we spent the entire day running around, creating chaos in the house. By mid afternoon, we were in the streets waiting for the Yakult vendor. When night time came, we all ate dinner when our Titas and Titos had come home from work, and happily shared stories of how our day went.

Even when you moved to Bicutan and when Papang passed away, you continued to shower us with your love by asking us to come visit you on weekends. You also took the task of watching over us when our parents were away. We may not have made it obvious to you, but we surely enjoyed your company. Not everyone would have had the opportunity to have a lola as cool as you!

We’d never forget our trips to Baguio, Matabungkay, Puerto Azul, Zambales, Boracay and all over. You and Papang had created a wonderful environment for my sister, cousins and I to have a happy childhood together. Now that we’re all grown up and some of us have kids of our own, we’ve maintained the closeness and values that you and Papang had helped instill on us, bound by all the happy memories of our childhood with both of you.

Even if you’re not here with us anymore, know that we will continue to remember you everyday, especially during our birthdays – we will miss your greetings, the little notes you leave us, and of course the meaty envelope haha.

During Easter Sunday as we go egg-hunting, we’ll remember you excitedly asking the kids how many eggs they gathered.

It would be especially difficult for us not to remember you during Christmas and New Year this year. We will miss our steady supply of underwear, sleepwear, and the little things you gave us. On New Year’s Eve, we will light the fireworks in sweet remembrance, knowing that you, Papang and Andrew are looking down lovingly on us with a smile on your faces.

Lastly, we’d like to thank you and Papang for the gift of life. We all probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day had it not been for the two of you. Thank you for our parents and for raising them well. We all are living a life so blessed. We have the best parents and the best family.

Even without your and Papang’s physical presence, together with our parents, we will continue to keep the family close – just like how you and Papang had always wanted.

Rest assured that your great grandchildren and future great grandchildren will hear all our wonderful stories about you, some of these immortalized by the photos which we now hold dearly in our hearts.

As Wolfmann once wrote in a song:

Walk slowly
And dare to realize
The mark you’ve made in other people’s lives
And then gently
Turn and walk away
We’ll live to share your story another day