"Perhaps they are not stars but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones pours through
and shines down upon us to let us know
THEY ARE HAPPY"
There is no getting over a death of a loved one. You will move on, but the ache of their absence is reminiscent in the chair they used to sit on, the familiar scent of perfume, and special occasions you used to share. The empty space they left, regardless of how we try, they will never be filled completely by anything nor anyone. It just can't be. When they die, life goes on; the world don't stop in its tracks to grieve with you.
2011 marked a new chapter for me, graduation. Along its close, it brought the close and end to my grandmother and great-grandfather's life. Funny how you say, 'Next weekend, they'll be there. I'll see them just they are. In that chair greeting me with open arms with a kiss on my cheek' then suddenly, that part of the story ends. Like events of a book you're reading, you didn't see it coming. This is particularly true with my grandmother.. we never expected her to suddenly pass on. She was still strong until her heart stopped beating. It stopped when my world was engrossed in the organized chaos, that are major exams and thesis. When I heard, I was dumbfounded. Everyone was.
I was consoled when I saw her at the funeral parlor. She appeared to be just sleeping with a hint of smile on her lips. I gestured to stroke her white curls but pulled out my hand as my cousin shoved me aside to kiss her cheek. We surrounded her in hushed silence as if not wanting to disturb her from slumber. I looked at her hard and tried to grasp at the idea that gone are the days she'd approach to kiss me and sniff my hair.
My great-grandfather will always be a part of my early childhood memories. At 85 years old, he was still unstoppable. Believe it or not, he still plays tennis. His everyday routine was church-tennis-church. He was very health-conscious. He never puts salt nor MSG in his vegetable soup. No meat, just vegetables. On those summer days I spent at my Lola Mommy's house (my Mom's aunt) we know he's in his room when the afternoon radio drama is on. Oftentimes we hear him read passages from the Bible aloud. When he catches us, he invites us to play cards or listen to him talk about being spiritually ready. I was 8 years old then and I admired this old man, his faith and his commitment.
He disliked the way I love to sport shorts and big shirts when I should be wearing dresses. He hated how I laugh too loud, talk too much and act like a boy when I should be prim and proper. He always scolded me for it. He warned I will grow to be an old maid if I continue doing so. But for a kid my age? Marriage is the last thing to worry about. Lolo didn't like kids who're noisy. When we were playing when we should be having afternoon naps, he would pick up his stick and scared us to sleep or else. But we were mischievous! Oh how we love to taunt Lolo. We knew he wouldn't lay a hand on us. He just can't. Because we were adorable kids. We'd sneak out and let him chase us with the stick. Later on, he'll just shake his head and invite us over for snacks or card games.
Whenever I look back, I always smile. He died at the full age of 101 years old. The picture below was taken on his 100th birthday! The last time I saw him, he called me by my other aunt's name. I reminded him who I was and says, 'Oh, that really loud, talkative girl.' and I laugh, amused that he remembers.
Farewell, Lola Tita and Lolo Pio. Rest well. You will live on through countless memories you left among your kin.