Sunday, September 11, 2011

I am the worst grandson

I wasn't excited to be back. 

I was even more concerned about the take home quiz that I need to finish tonight.

Was there something to be excited about? 

A question that came in as I took my breakfast.
I didn't even give an effort in thinking about what I'd wear.

I just picked my favorite stylish shorts and a simple shirt. Wore my sleepers and I was ready to go.

I just wanted to go because I didn't want my mom to go alone by herself.

Antipolo is my birthplace. The place where I've seen how hard life could become, how families struggle to make ends meet and how loneliness could make you the saddest person in the world and I guess because of that, I didn't really have a lot of nice memories growing up in the place of my birth. I had my friends but I was still lonely. Every time I'd get back home from playing outside, I knew loneliness would haunt me back again. You see when I was a child, my mom had to leave for work. I'd remember my grandparents trying to make me understand why mom had to leave. I believe I knew why but I couldn't hold my tears back when mom would step out of the door and bid me goodbye. It'd be the saddest moment in my life every time.

I remember, I would cry as she disappeared from my sight. Then I knew at that moment in time, it would be long before she comes back again. Having that thought ran around in circles, it has squeezed every tear out of my eyes. My grandma would use to calm me down, wipe my tears off my cheeks  and comforted me until I stopped crying. 

The absence of my tears didn't mean the absence of my loneliness. It was still present and alive.

The sun was up so high and I couldn't take the heat. 

As the tricycle went up to an incline, every memory of that path came in to play. I'd remember the place where I used to get scared every night. The place where I believed creatures lurked. I still remembered the exact same fear that I usually get every time I get to that incline.

The rocky road on our way to my grandparents was still the same old path. Until now they haven't fixed that path yet. It's still soiled so when it rains, you wouldn't want to walk there because it would turn from a dry land to a muddy pool. 

And then there we arrived. 

It was completely different when my grandparents weren't there. They reconstructed the house and built additional walls that separate two families living together. I used to sit beside my grandma every time we visit there, I'd pay respect to my aunts and uncles but I'd always prefer to sit beside my loving grandma and chat with her.

I'd usually ask her if she already ate or how she was doing. I'd look at her face and see how time had changed her(physically). However, she has not changed a bit with the way she treated me and the other people around her. She was still the same old grandma that I'd always find comfort with. The same kind, caring, calm and loving grandma.

You see, my grandma raised me in the absence of my mom. I remember when I was in 1st grade, she would fetch me to school. After class, I'd always see her waiting for me. We would go to the wet market and eat but I was always wondering why was I the only one eating. She would just watch me eat. I wanted to share my food so bad but I knew she would refuse. Or sometimes we would go home and she'd prepare food for me. I appreciated that so much but I didn't get the chance to tell her that. 

Every time I'd get scolded by my aunt or dad or my grandpa she would be there to make me understand why. She'd wipe my tears with her "daster" and would do her best to make me stop crying. Every time, we'd go to sleep at night, my grandpa didn't want to turn on the fan because they were trying to save electricity so when I'd feel hot, grandma would get a cardboard, a newspaper or anything she could use to make me feel cool.Sometimes, she would sing a lullaby to put me down to sleep. She had this calming and relaxing tone. I'd always feel like I was in heaven being serenaded by an angel.

She'd help me get ready for school. She'd wake up early to prepare my breakfast. There would be times when she'd prepare a pack lunch for me. My favorite was pandesal and fried hotdogs. Every day she would do that for me. I didn't hear any complaints from her. I remember images in my mind that she'd kiss me on the cheeks for no reason and it always made me happy. I knew that my grandma loved very much and has always appreciated my presence. I also remember images of me hugging her so tight. I still remember her scent. The scent of her "daster".

Now, the place changed since she passed away. The bed where she used to lie on was no longer there. I wanted to sit beside her but I knew I could no longer do that. She's in a better place and wherever that place is, I know she's happy.

I think the biggest mistake I have ever done was not being there when she passed away. I was at work. It was difficult to get absent and to be honest, I didn't really think about her that much. 

Today, when I went back to the only place where memories of my grandma and I together lie, I felt the guilt. It's killing me now thinking about it. I feel like I am the worst grandson ever to have existed in this world. I was raised and loved by her but I didn't show myself up during the last minutes of her life. I didn't show up in her funeral. She wasn't able to see me for the very last time.

I wasn't able to say how much I love her so much.

I wasn't able to say how much I appreciate her sacrifices and everything that she has done for me.

I wasn't able to say that she is a part of the reason why I am what I am now.

I guess, you would never know that it's too late when it already is.

I miss you lola and I love you very much.

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