I don't know him personally, but my Ate and Kuya did and my Mom's announcement got me thinking about what I have lost in the past.
1. My Mama Lola (maternal grandmother) - there's a drawback to being the youngest in our generation in both sides of the family, I only met one grandparent, my Mama Lola. I grew up with her puttering around the garden (fab green thumb I tell you) and her sewing on the manual makina (sewing machine).
I was 12 when I got the call at around 5ish in the morning from the funeraria. I had no idea how to handle things, so when the schoolbus arrived I still went to school. I was tulala in school the whole day and just cried in my Dad's arms when I got home. I still miss Mama a lot since they say I got a lot of my eccentricities from her and I used to hang-out in her room a lot of times (it was where I'd hide whenever my Mom would force me to take a siesta). Mama passed away in her sleep at the hospital right after a butterfly suddenly appeared in her room (believed to be my Papa Lolo).
2. My Lola Iyay (maternal grand aunt) - my Mama Lola's sister. Lola Iyay absolutely hated going to Manila. She lived by the beach with her lovely dogs. It took me a long time to figure out that her dog Whitey wasn't immortal and that she just kept getting a new white askal whenever the last Whitey died. Oh yeah, and she's very funny too. My Lola Iyay spoke English like she was born speaking it. She was an English teacher and had many, many stories to tell and absolutely loved hearing about my love life. (I have so much to tell you Lola `yay!). She passed away in her sleep about 2 years ago.
3. Papa Lolo (maternal grandfather) - Papa Lolo died 5 years before I was born, but my Mom would always tell me stories about him and what a good story teller he was. I met him though, in San Francisco. I was 4 years old then and was playing by the window in a hotel room when he appeared right in front of me. He was wearing a white uniform with gold buttons and had this stiff hat on (he was in the army and was part of the Death March). This was our conversation:
He smiles and beckons me to come closer to him.
"Papa, are you going to tell me a story now?"
He nods yes and asks me to come closer to him.
"Talaga Papa? Story? Story now?"
At this point my Mom interrupted and asked me who I was talking with. I told her, "I'm talking with my Papa Lolo!" She then snatched me away from the window. I know I was just 4 years old then, but I do remember to this day how my Papa Lolo looked. A few years later I saw a photo of him in a white uniform and realized that I did somehow meet my Papa Lolo.
Last year, my nephew, Gabby had the same experience. What was funny was he didn't have any idea how Papa Lolo looked and he turned all white when we showed him his photo wearing his white uniform. We must've gotten our being pilyo from Papa Lolo!
4. My Pets - it took me a long time before I considered having another pet when my oscar (fish) named Oscar was killed by the ugly janitor fish. I had Oscar for about 3 years, so you can just imagine all the stuff that we've been through. Prior to Oscar, it took me about 7 years after Cotton (a japanese spitz) died to have another pet.
You see, I do really get so attached to my pets and it takes me a long time to move on (longer than boyfriends mind you, coz one doesn't live with a boyfriend right? LOL). To Bullet (a dog), Cotton, Ham & Egg (hamsters), and Oscar, Lucky and Pork & Beans (fighting fish) I hope you guys are very happy in pet heaven. (The janitor fish is probably still alive coz we left him go in the creek behind our house, hmph!).
5. Dead Toenails? (I don't have any.) Dead hair? (they fall off every day)... ahhh and I this cute ceramic bowl just caught my eye here in my study room, Ashes of my Ex(es). Well, I know I'm being funny (#1 to 4 was making me teary eyed already) and I seriously have that pot (I wonder if Sweetie noticed it hmmm)... I'm referring to dead relationships, friendships that fell apart and stuff that just didn't work out. That's life and it's normal. We all go through that cycle, but what's important is just letting go of everything that's in the past and move forward by cherishing what you have now.
Live and let live. I say, "Love and just love because that is why we are here."
To Mama, Papa and Lola Iyay, I know you are watching over me and the whole family. I will be with you again someday.