I’ve been silently grieving the death of my maternal grandmother, Aurea Plaza Respecia, we affectionately called her Lola Auring. She died peacefully in her sleep last March 23, 2014, Sunday, at the ripe age of 94.
No one in my circle of friends in the metro knows about it, I never mentioned this sad event as I don’t want to be reminded with the sting of heartache that pricking underneath, of how painful it is to be far from home at this time of sorrow and failed to witness her final departure on earth, of not seeing a glimpse of her face for the last time. I don’t want to be consoled from the desolation I felt, because it will make the loss even harder to embrace and will make my tears tougher to suppress.
I appeared calm and happy despite this silent pain. My grandmother’s wake is in my home province, in Surigao del Sur, and it’s so sickening to know that I could not attend the burial.
She was the last of my grandparents to die. My lolo (her husband) died in 2003, my paternal grandfather died in 1979 and my paternal grandmother passed away in 2005.
The last time I saw my lola was in January 1, 2013 when I visited her on New Year’s day. At her advanced age, she had still this very incredible memory, upon hearing my voice, she instantly recognized me. I hugged her and asked how’s she’s doing, she smiled and caressed my head, like she always did when I was still a child.
I missed her. She was an amazing woman. She was an excellent home maker, a terrific cook! My favorites were her unique recipes for rice cake and suman, she would mill cocoa for home-made chocolate drinks. Back in my childhood days, I used to spend my summer vacation with her and grandpa in a neighboring town. We would go to the farm together and would spend afternoons in stories and laughter. According to neighbors and everyone in the family, I inherited my grandmother’s fair complexion and brown eyes, she had a mixed of Chinese and Spanish ancestries.
With my dear grandmother last January 1, 2013
In the middle of this year, my mother texted me that lola would barely manage to stand, she would not eat her meals and would spend the whole day sleeping, from my mother’s nature of message, I knew death is coming.
It’s so odd to think, but given the circumstances of her age, the inevitable moment of death is a possibility. When my mother informed us it was more like a confirmation of that foreseeable event. But even though it was certain, still it brought some degree of distress to my system, talking death of love ones is still a taboo in our society no matter how certain it is.
We don’t last forever, everyone has to die, but still when death comes it is always heartbreaking and awful. Maybe because our human nature abhors too much pain and sufferings and we’ve this emotional attachment to love ones that is so hard to bargain with reality. But we must learn how to compromise with the truth because life on earth is so temporary.
Almost two weeks on since her passing ( she was buried last March 31), I am slowly coming to terms with the loss and just wishing for grandma’s eternal repose of soul. May she find eternal happiness in the afterlife. Her memories will continue to live in my heart.