I miss my Lola…

Few days ago, I had a dream. I was in a hospital with my Family and we were waiting for someone. It seems like a Deja Vu. I saw a person laying in a stretcher and covered in a blanket. I didn’t see the face of the person but was certain it was my Grandma. She is there cold and dead.

Then I woke up.

I realized it is past 7 am and I need to prepare for work and what I witnessed was just a dream. I remembered it’s few days till All Saint’s Day.

It is almost an annual routine. Few days before “Undas”, I would always dream about my Grandma who died few years ago. Last year, I dreamt about her being alive I was so excited and we hugged each other very tight. When I woke up, I’m not sure if I just finished crying.

I guess it’s her way of reminding us not to forget her and also trying to tell me she is still there guiding us as one of the family’s angel…indeed she is an Angel.

She was originally from San Fernando, Pampanga. She came to Manila for work. She is a professional Modiste. Because of her talent, she met my Grandpa who was a tailor. I remembered my Mom telling us that their parents had a shop in Manila. My Lola I believe was the first member of her family who “migrated” to Manila and they have settled and had children in the City.

She is the only Grand parent I knew from the day I was born. Both parents of my Dad passed away before we were born. My Grampa from Mom side passed away when my mom and her siblings were still young. Lola became a widow at a very young age.  Though she is very pretty (has some Spanish features) she never got married again.

I am not ashamed to admit I am a Lola’s boy. My Parents used to live in my Grandma’s house when they just got married. It was quite a big house (2 stories) during that time. When my parents were able to buy a house and lot in a new village, they wanted to move. My Lola preferred us to stay in her house but since the family is also getting bigger (we were 4 kids already then) so we had to move.

I don’t know why I became close to my lola considering I have siblings and other cousins too. Maybe because as a child, they considered me special and lucky…I was born premature, only 7 months old. Everyday after work, my Dad visits me in the hospital and he is very sad to see a poor boy trying to live. I was in an incubator for 2 months. I am just assuming but I think that is the reason why my Lola see me differently.

Every year during summer vacation, I spend it in my Lola’s home (who by then is joined by my youngest Aunt’s family) and I would just see my own family whenever they visit the house (which is every weekend or every other weekend). Whenever she visits her hometown in Pampanga, I had to join her too. Because of that, I could understand almost 100% (but unfortunately can’t speak Kapampangan dialect).

My fondest memory with Lola is every night, before we go to bed. Even how sleepy I am, I had to pray with her. Then we would kiss each other good night and she would hug me tight.

During my birthday or Christmas we sort of have a deal…I am revealing it for the first time now so if any of my siblings or cousins would read my blog post, they would know our “little secret.”

Whenever I would make “Mano”, my Lola would secretly give me some cash. If for example my siblings and the rest of the cousin would receive from her 100 Pesos for Christmas (which is already a big money for kids that time), I would receive more (sometimes even 500 pesos!).

Of course there are sort of jealousy among siblings and cousins and they partly know I am the favorite grand child but we would not confirm it. Whenever they ask me or my Lola how much I received, both of us answered the same amount as they received and my Lola would always say “Pare-pareho ko kayong apo kaya wala akong paborito sa inyo…pantay-pantay kayong lahat” (All of you are my Grandchildren and I don’t have any single favorite. I treat all of you the same). Ha ha ha! To my brothers and sisters+ cousins…pls. don’t get mad at me or Lola.I know you are also a favorite of one of our aunts or uncles so we are just even. Ha ha ha!

There was this one time that my Lola and mom just say in passing that they wanted to watch the latest Sharon Cuneta movie cos they haven’t been to the movie house for years. Though I don’t like to watch that Sharon Cuneta movie (can’t remember which film it was), I decided to treat them (I just started working then and earning my own salary) to a movie and we dined out.

My mom told me after, that Lola would always tell people about my treat and she was very happy and thankful about my gesture and she was proud that I have my own job.

At past 80 years old, she is still very healthy. Suddenly she became sick. She was in and out of the hospital and she lost a lot of weight. Every time I see her, I can’t help but be very sad. I used to see her healthy and strong but she became thin and weak. I guess she felt it is almost her time so she asked to be brought to Pampanga to be with her siblings.

One time we visited her, the friend of my brother who joined us asked me “Do you think your Lola would live longer?” because he can see how weak she is. I told him, I don’t like to think how long she will be with us. I just want her to be ok.

During that trip, I can’t stand long time being with my lola in the room. I wanted to see her as the same Lola I knew. She was very weak and can’t see clearly cos her vision became very poor. In our last conversation together, I told her I got a good job and is now a Manager. She said she is so proud of me and I grew up smart and handsome. I know then that she will be with us for few more days.

True enough, after a few days she passed away. One of the greatest regret I had is not being able to cry when she died. I don’t know if any of my family members realized it. You may think why?

The night she died, I am just about to go to sleep when they woke us up informing that my Lola passed away just after the prayer for her was finished. My Mom and aunts were all crying. Since they know my mom has high blood pressure, my aunt instructed me to console my mom (only me and Mom from our family was in Pampanga then because my youngest sibling was about to Graduate from Elementary so my Dad and the rest had to stay in Manila) for fear that she will break down and would have health problems.  Since I had to make sure my mom was ok, I didn’t have time to cry even if I wanted to. It’s ironic that the next day, Mom had to go back to Manila to attend my sister’s graduation.

Also, during the funeral mass it still didn’t sink in my head (or I just don’t want to accept it) that my Lola is dead so still I am unable to cry even if the whole family is crying. But this doesn’t mean I am not grieving.

Up to this day, even though she died many years ago we still miss her. Whenever my Mom would hear words about mom or any TV program talking about moms, she would silently cry.

Lola, I miss you so much. I know you are very proud of my accomplishments and even though I am away from my family, you are always whispering to God to send His angels to me for guidance and protection. Till we meet again…

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Honor and Excellence

While I was trying to watch some videos of Philippine TV programs in Pinoy Channel.TV I came across a video of Prof. Winnie Monsod addressing University of the Philippines (UP) Students.

It seems she is talking to freshmen of the University by the way she talked.

I always admired Prof. Winnie’s eloquence, courage and integrity. She is definitely an iron lady..and she knows what she is doing and what she is talking about.

Back to that video, the beginning part of her talk is encouraging the students to take pride of being part of UP, the Philippines’ best University. Truly being an alumnus of UP is something to be proud of and can be considered an achievement in itself.

She also told the students to give something back to the country because it is the people of the Philippines who had paid (or partially paid) for their tuition fees being a university scholar or so-called Iskolar ng Bayan.

I myself used to be an Iskolar ng Bayan and its true that our fees are highly subsidized considering we are getting quality education though I think the tuition fee of State Universities are getting higher and higher these days.  At any rate, even if we are paying low fees, there is no reason not to study hard and earn a diploma.

She encouraged everyone in the audience to stay in the Philippines after graduation and work in the country. This is one way of giving back to the society. She asked everyone to make that commitment or else she will haunt them even on death (not sure it is half meant, hahaha).

One part that I don’t agree much with Prof. Winnie is her statement which I quote:
“And if any of you have, mga little ambitions of going abroad so that you can earn more, please disabuse yourself, because by doing that you are essentially betraying the people in the Philippines who trusted you and invested their money in you”.

Ouch!

Am I really a traitor by being an OFW?

I don’t know if it is her way of trying to convince the students to stay put in the country, what with the thousands and thousands of brains being drained out of the country for decades now.  But I find it quite unfair for OFW’s like me who is just trying to earn a decent living overseas.

Yes, we must work in our country to help in its recovery but if there is no better job so where do we go? By working abroad, it entails a lot of sacrifices with every penny that we earn.

I would rather put it this way…it is better to work overseas and “betray” my country if I am earning decently and righteously than staying put in the country but in the process stealing the Filipino’s money through corruption.

Many of us working overseas are trying to give honor while striving for excellence. This is our way of giving back to the country while in the process helping our families.

Just my thoughts..anyway, overall her talk is very informative, encouraging and sensible. And I would always admire her.

Full video here:

http://www.philippinechannel.tv/watch/v-239562?title=Honor%20and%20Excellence

Fur kids or real kids anyone?

Last night I was watching in Channel News Asia the programme called Blog TV. The episode is titled “Fur Kids”. The guests debates and gives opinion as to which one is better, raising your own child or owning a fur kid (read as: pet). Wooaah what a topic. Owning a pet has been a trend nowadays and many pet lovers spend a lot in grooming, dressing up and feeding their “fur kids” which is good because most household pets (especially dogs) help relieve stress, are very loyal and fun to look at. However, personally I believe the topic is non debatable in the first place. In totality, it is a lot better to raise your own child as opposed to raising a fur kid.

Please don’t get me wrong with my opinion. I have no objection if some people spend a lot in raising and maintaining their pets. I also emphatize to those couples who want to have their own children but cannot so have to resort to owning a pet for diversion. It is definitely a good deed. However, if a legally married couple has the financial, mental and physical capacity to have their own children, then by all means do not think twice having your own. It’s all about satisfaction, fulfillment and pride of raising your own children.

I don’t have children of my own yet but as I see my parents, siblings, relatives and friends who have their own children, I can see how proud, happy and contented they are having their own offspring especially for my parents as all of us are grown ups now and are successful in our own ways. No matter how obnoxious, underdisciplined or naughty kids these days can become, a parent will always love their child.

We are happy when our pups would learn how to bark and compliment them how brave they are even at a very early stage. However the feeling is entirely different when our baby starts to say its first word like Mama or Papa or giggle when we do peek-a-boo or tickle them. The world seems so full of happiness and the sight of a very innocent face staring at you is priceless.

When a dog learned it’s first trick like sitting still or rolling, we are very proud and would show these tricks off to our friends. However, when our baby responds when we asked them to close or open their hands, blink and do “beautiful eyes” gesture or when they learn to take first small steps, some parents can’t help but become teary eyed with their child’s progress.

When they start to go to school, learn how to read, write us short poems or messages or even draw a picture of their family and show to us, we will treasure these memories for a lifetime.

The list of memories and events shared together between a parent and their children goes on and on. Of course there are random instances wherein the children may grow up not as expected like giving the parents some problems like unwanted pregnancies, being hooked up in drugs or other vices, not following parents orders and stuff. But these are isolated cases and not usual to all families.

Overall, the bond between a parent and a child is stronger than the Great Wall of China, deeper than the Pacific Ocean and greater than the Great Barrier reef. It’s all because the foundation is love, trust and physical and emotional connection.

Let us continue to become a good parent or child or both, whichever role we play in life.

Cheers!