My Lola Lourdes...

Jul 2, 2013

I have grown up with my Lola Lourdes. She's the strict one. She never allows me to play outside with other kids because she's afraid I might have wounds or injuries since I was a clumsy kid. She spoiled me with all the toys I wanted and almost all the things I ask for when I was a child. She did this to keep me at home. She always wanted what's best for me.

I remember, when she had to go back here in the Philippines for her visa renewal, she did not want to leave me behind. She wanted to take me with her even though she knew I'd be behind school or that I have to transfer school. That's how attached we were to each other. She was like my mom and my mom seemed to be like my big sister then.

Today is her death anniversary and I can still clearly remember what happened 12 years ago.

It was the night of July 1st when she went to our room and spoke to my mom while I was in bed reading a book. She was telling my mom to take care of her brothers, me, my dad, my lolo and she was mentioning  what things she wants to buy for my uncles. It was normal Saturday night... that's what we thought.

When she went down to watch tv and when my grandfather came home from a party in our neighborhood, we heard them just talking downstairs. A few minutes after, my grandfather started to scream and was asking for help. When my mom and I ran downstairs, he was already carrying my lola and was screaming to open the door. My dad came to help too; he was also in the party next door. We brought her to the car and drove to the nearest hospital.

She was unconscious. I was very young then, around grade 5. I remember having her face on my lap while I ask her to open her eyes and look at me. My lolo was pinching her body but no response. When we got to the hospital, she gained consciousness but unfortunately, she didn't know any of us. It was what hurts most and still makes me cry.

She need to be transferred to the General Hospital and was sent to ICU. She had waters on her lungs and she suffered a heart attack. I was sent home because kids were not allowed to stay in the hospital after 10pm. I slept in our neighbors house because my grandfather and my parents had to watch over my lola.

I really didn't want to sleep but because I had been crying, I fell asleep so easily. And when I woke up, I was not with my Ate Marianne (our neighbor). I opened the door and I heard my mom crying. She was talking to her brothers here in the Philippines saying the bad news. I didn't want to go down. I stood stiff in that top step of my neighbors staircase and I hoped I was dreaming. I wasn't ready to say good bye. And the fact that I didn't get to say good bye felt a lot worse.

During her burial, we heard stories about her telling everyone in our village that she was going home (to Philippines) on July even though she knew she couldn't because her passport then was in the embassy for processing. When we went to their room to fix her things, it was a surprise to see that she eventually packed her things... ready to go. She had enough savings for the expenses of her airfare and all the pasalubongs were also packed. She knew she was going. Then I thought to myself... why didn't she tell me? Why didn't she give me a chance to say goodbye.  I have asked those two question for so many years and it was only when I turned 20 when I realized that the reason she didn't allow me to say good bye was because she herself didn't want to hear it from me.

Reminiscing this still makes me cry. Even though it's more than a decade that she's gone, I still miss her. But I know that wherever she is right now, she's happy and in peace.

May you continue to rest in peace my dearest Lola Lourdes. I was so lucky to have been brought up by you. My strong personality was molded by you. And whatever I become in life, I owe it you. I love and miss you Lola. Keep looking after me. Hehe.

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