I received this text message from my mom while I was in the office and was then having an orientation in a conference room. This kind of expression was usually being used as a joke here in the Philippines (using the Filipino word for grandfather as a gag- “lolo”). It is funny if you know that it is just a joke. But I didn’t realize how different it was if it is real.
I was dazed to have read this. I suddenly told my seatmates about it and their reactions were not that serious. Swiftly, my mood changed to sadness. I wanted to conceal it but I can’t stop it. Since the orientation is still ongoing for the last speaker, I forced myself to keep my composure. After the orientation, tears already fell from my eyes while moving the chairs to the board room. I was trying not to cry but tears really want to fall. Until my colleagues had noticed that my eyes are already red and crying silently.
They sent me home so I can go to my grandfather’s. The truth is I didn’t know what to do. If I will go there right away or I will eat first. I thought for a long time before I decided to take a different direction first and find a place to eat so I can think clearly.
One thing I had thought of, another loved one of mine died. At first, it was my best friend. Now, it was my grandfather who was close to me. In our last conversations when he can still talk then, he was telling me that he was praying for me to have a new job by then.
I wasn’t able to tell him that I already have a job since 2 weeks ago. I wanted to tell him that I was already enjoying my work and even if I was having a hard time at first, I am doing my best. I wanted to tell him that his prayer was already answered.
I didn’t think of it before. Only now that he’s gone. I thought I can still talk to him after work because I plan to visit him and tell him all these. It was too late.
In my mind, what is the message of this? It was a long time that I didn’t get to visit my grandfather who was always praying for me that I get a new work. Maybe he was saying, it is enough that I get to be busy again and got a job. And that he doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore.
I was happy, on the other hand, that he already “let go.” He was already living for 97 years and he is already old. He cannot walk anymore and unable to eat.
It still feels different when you’ve lost someone who gives you unconditional love. One who doesn’t demand anything in return but just to see you happy. I admire his steadfastness because even if he is always lying down and really just have to be taken care of and that he misses our grandmother so much who is already in heaven, he still showed his determination to wake up and rise if he could everyday so that we can still have a grandfather who is the reason why we do family gatherings. He was happy whenever he sees the whole family and relatives gathering for an occasion. It is from my grandfather and grandmother that I learned this culture of Filipinos. In these gatherings, everybody learns about the woes and needs of each one. In this way, everybody can help and give support to whoever needs it, be it a moral support or financial support. This is the Filipino family. In this way, there is “bayanihan.”
Our clan is pure Tagalog from the province of Mindoro Oriental. I grew up in a setting wherein the whole clan will have gatherings and in these occasions, my grandfather gives a speech. He gives an honorable talk to all the people present.
This scenery is slowly degenerating. Many are having a hard time speaking in pure tagalog (which is usually misinterpreted as the Filipino language). I don’t intend to speak in pure tagalog always either but since this is the language I grew up with, I can speak in this language fluently. I am happy to have been bestowed with this heritage by my grandfather. He is not rich with material things but he is rich in things that show he had lived a decent life.
Thank you lolo. You gave us a good heritage. This is a treasure etched so to speak in our lineage—the Filipino lineage.