It has been 9 years when my paternal grandmother passed away. Last October 24 was the exact day she left us. I am giving her this post to remember her, to give her memories a whiff of life through here.
Her voice in mezzo-soprano sometimes sounds annoying to me when she speaks out of excitement or sudden bursts of frustration and anger consumes her. She really is bold when she expresses herself. I grew up seeing her animate over matters of concern between her and grandfather and her children, including my father. She exercise a lot of assertions on whatever stuff that gets her involved. She is lively and aggressive at times too but very lenient and patient to us, her grandchildren. She often enjoys sharing a bag of chips and carbonated soda with us in the afternoon after coming home from school. It becomes our quality time to listen to her stories of random things with her voice kept at minimum.
Lala Ting is what we call her. Lala is a derivative from “Lola”, Filipino for grandmother. Ting is derived from her name Matea (pronounced as Ma-tee-ya). She has one elder brother and younger sister. I am fond of her sister, Lola Elena. Unlike her, she has this happy disposition. She evokes warmth and friendliness. Wearing such a sweet smile on her round face always. My Lala Ting is dear to me. She could be stern sometimes and a disciplinarian but I did learn a lot from her on behaving properly.
I enjoy accompanying her when she unexpectedly plans to visit the farm and it’s not nearby. Walking long distance is the most grueling part of the trip after commuting via bus. So she makes sure that we are on the road before the sun rises or else walking under the heat would be daunting or unbearable during the dry season. In all these short trips I would accompany her, I learned patience. I got the hang of walking and carrying her other bag filled with some groceries. We do stay for a couple of days at the farm especially during the harvest season and she anticipated me making a fuss of the meals prepared at the farm hence some groceries are brought during this trip.
I learned to take care of myself. I learned to eat vegetables and appreciate whatever is served on the table. I learned how to keep my arms steady when she reaches it for support when we cross the river or the curbs of rice paddies. She really doesn’t talk much when we walk and I like her when she’s quiet like that.
I realized that she exposed me to these short travels that I harnessed more of my independence and never feared the hassle of traveling, in turn I looked forward to reaching more places. If only she was still alive she could have envied my few travels to places she would love to go to.
Lala Ting died in the morning. I haven’t had the chance to speak to her the day before she died. She had just come home from the hospital then and according to my parents was that she’s gotten really weak. I was really busy at the university during the week she was hospitalized. I was tied with the finals as I accomplish more academic stuff before the semester break. I felt bad soon as I heard that she has left us. I wasn’t expecting that she’ll pass that morning. The day I was already free from school. And to think that the night before I was filled with high hopes that I’ll be able talk to her in the morning to ask her how she’d been. But no talks over sodas and bags of chips happened, not ever will.
While she was still warm I rushed to her side to pay respect, to kiss her hand and speak to her in mind. I love you, Lala Ting. I miss you. Thank you.