We laid our dear Lola Charing to her final resting place about a week ago. She was ninety-four and a half years old. A tarpauline in her wake says "our memories will keep you eternal…"
I searched the memory bank in my brain and recalled my memories with her. In all my thirty plus years, I regret to say, our memories together don’t count that much…compared to the years she had lived in this world.
Although, she used to tell me I went with her and lolo (alone) for a vacation at Calape, Bohol when I was about two years old, my earliest memory of lola only goes back to my childhood days where I spent summers at my mother’s ancestral house in Narra Road so I can play with my cousins all day through. I remember my brother and I sleeping between lola and lolo in their bedroom when we slept over. I remember praying the Six O’clock prayer with the entire household Lola had gathered in the altar. I remember playing with my cousins and ignoring her in our antics that she always told on us to Lolo, who ended up scolding (and beating) us for our hardheadedness…we deserved the beating, hihihi…
After childhood years, the time I spent with Lola in my high school years were faint. There were the ocassional visits to her house or during parties, but not quite the memories that last. I can’t remember spending enough attention to her those days.
In my college years, since I was away in school, i remember sending her birthday cards, anniversary cards, valentine cards, giving her gifts…and even calling her long distance to wish her personally on special ocassions. I guess being away from her (and the rest of the family) made me realize then how I missed and valued her.
I spent the most time with Lola when I started working as Accountant after school. My office was a walking distance from her house so I ate my lunches with her, five days a week for almost two years. I enjoyed the time with her, talking to her like a friend, confiding in her my immature lovelife back then, hahaha. She went along with my thoughts, pouring her wisdom and never insisting on her views. I can still hear her laughter when I told her one of my silly problems then. Since I was already working, this was also the time I started giving Lola her favorite snacks…she had a sweet tooth and she always asked me for her mamon (toasted or otherwise) and her Coke. Looking back now, I am so grateful I got to spend so much time alone with her then.
When I switched jobs, my lunches with Lola was cut short. I definitely remember, however, that I continued to visit her to give her her week’s supply of mamon and other sweet tasting goodies and money for her Coke.
I eventually enrolled in law school and the time I spent with Lola vanished. Except for special family gatherings, I think I barely visited her to bring mamons and Coke. She was not also able to attend my wedding because she stayed with lolo (who was sick???) in the house. I guess she (and lolo too) were that special to me because immediately after the wedding ceremony, I went straight to their house and showed her how radiant a bride I was, hahaha. Honestly, I went there because I did not feel comfortable leaving them alone with the rest of us merrying somewhere.
Lola moved the heavens with her powerful prayers on all our intentions. She prayed very hard for me in my CPA Board Exam and the Bar Exam. I don’t think I ever thanked her for her prayers.
My ample time with Lola resumed when my Lolo died (at the age of 92) and my mother brought Lola to our house in Balbarino. Since I eat dinners at my mother’s house practically everyday, I got to see Lola everyday too. Although I was able to talk to her, massaged her when she complained of a headache, combed her hair and laid beside her in her bed when she did not want to be alone, it is still not enough. There were times I just peeped in her bedroom and bless her hand and hurriedly went home. There were times when she called us because she did not want to be alone but we never heeded her calls and continued eating. How did she even feel then? Even with the Alzhiemer’s she was suffering, did she still know we did not give her that much attention? There were many times she asked to be given something good to eat, but we stopped her for fear she might get sick with all her sugar intake.
I wish I gave her more sweet goodies. More toasted mamons. More White Rabbit. More money for her Cokes.
I already miss calling out her name upon entering my mother’s house. "HI GRANNY!"
Lola is best remembered in the family for the lullaby she always sang from time to time…I think the song reminded her of her own mother who had died young. I felt she sang it when she was longing for her mother’s love:
ANG GUGMA NI MAMA
Ang gugma ni mama
dili ug dili tupngan
sa tanang bahandi
dinhi sa kalibutan
Ang tanan mahanaw
Tanan may katapusan
Apan ang gugma ni mama
Busa mga inahan
sa ilang paghigugma
Ug kong ugaling masakit
Ang iyang mga bata
Ang maluloy-ong mama
magpatulo sa luha.