It was a weekend of mourning for us as we learned of the death of my maternal lola (grandmother) whom we fondly call Inay (mother) last Sunday morning. She was 90 years old. We immediately traveled to Batangas (my mom’s hometown) to arrange the wake and the funeral which was held yesterday.
I have many fond memories of Inay back when I was a kid. I used to spend summers at her home with my cousin, Jopol, and together we would help Inay in her little sari-sari store. There were no fancy TV, computer gadgets or radio at her home because she lives in the rural part of the province, so we played among ourselves, read books and her regular gossip magazine, Kislap (which I read from cover to cover hehe!). She was a die-hard Vilmanian and would watch all her shows on TV.
But what we enjoyed most on our stay there was the interaction with her neighbors and our relatives who lives within the compound. Mornings and afternoons were the busiest part of the day as neighbors buy in her store and our relatives drop by for a chat and to bring in food for us to munch on.
As we grew older our visits to her became limited but we always spend our Christmases with her. More years passed and then an accident happened that broke her bone and made it difficult for her to walk.
In the last years of her life, Inay remained calm throughout – she doesn’t complain too much of the pain when she was already bed-ridden, and she always provides the entertainment whenever we visit her because her memory was already weak at this point and we loved having a guessing game with her. We will ask her to identify us and for every correct answer she will have a prize money. One thing we can’t understand, though, is why she can remember Juvvy, my sis-in-law, and she always manage to identify her while she jumbles on the rest of us, her grandchildren. We always have a good laugh on that.
In one of our Christmas get-together at her home we played bingo and she joined us. Oh boy, we got a good lecture from her as she kept on telling us that we are playing the game wrong! She can’t understand why she isn’t winning yet when she had a correct pattern already. Turned out she was playing the “old bingo rules” where there are random patterns to form. She ended up winning, of course, much to her delight.
There are more happy memories with Inay and those were the memories I’d remember every time I think of her. With her passing, we are both sad and happy – sad because we will surely miss her but happy because we know that she’s in a better place now. She has lived a full life, so to speak, raising 6 children and seeing them all raise families of their own and have their own grandchildren, while managing her little store and a home that has survived the war and other natural calamities.
We are truly lucky to have her with us this long, and couldn’t be more thankful of the times we have spent with her. But, the time has come for Inay to rest, and she did so by closing her eyes for one last time.
Rest in peace, Inay. We will truly miss you.