on january 12, 2010, my grandmother was laid to rest. here ive reworked this blog entry to incorporate my cousins tootsie and paolo’s own reflections, which i then shared as eulogy to the family at the funeral service that day.
This is my grandmother, Dolores Golez Padero.
She never liked being called a Lola; she preferred to be called Mommy Lolet. And that was how we knew her, Mommy Lolet, a woman who personified generosity, selflessness and unconditional love. She was the real Miss Congeniality and lived a fruitful 86 years of her life with us, her family.
For as long as we apos could remember, she had been thin and frail-looking but she had the energy and spunk of an adolescent. She was feisty and looked after her grandchildren while the parents were away at work, running after us, up and down the stairs as we played our war games, feeding us with champorado and pancakes for breakfast and corned beef for lunch.
Her dedication to her family was insatiable. Mommy’s constantly surrounded with photos of relatives here and abroad. She loved receiving calls from her sistew from amewika or relatives in manila. Mommy would prepare little surprises and tell us things like “go look under my desk, there’s something for you,” and we’d find trike or cab fare ready for us. She’d often write letters in long hand to family and in this age of emails, she’d mail hallmark cards that kept the post office in business for years. To Mommy Lolet, the family was her life.
Mommy Lolet had her many quirks and we didn’t realize until later how big an influence she was on us when we’d laugh and hit the person nearest us, when we’d stomp our feet when we throw tantrums or that we’ve acquired a curious ability to pinch people using our toes. She referred to water as wateer, sistew, brodeer, and so on. There is nobody quite like Mommy. She was a character. She was a paradox; loving and at times, stubborn and yet oftentimes, you cannot help but be amused at her child-like being.
As Mommy Lolet approached the winter of her life, she couldn’t comprehend the many changes her body had taken. She’d complain not being able to walk around and do her house chores properly when her knees weakened. She hated her wheelchair and was obviously not thrilled of having to use a cane. She wondered why her face bore more wrinkles everyday.
Mommy Lolet was stubbornly persistent on the routinary life she was so used to. Being a diabetic, she was not supposed to gorge on sweets and would turn a deaf ear on our warnings when ice cream was served. Of course she would beg, “konti lang chi.” “Konti lang, chi” was one of her oft-quoted lines, chi being her term of endearment for any member of her family. “Bawal man ning ice cream sa imo, me.” “Konti lang, chi” she’d say. And with a sigh, we gave up and served her a scoop or the whole tub.
Once a friend of mommy came by to ask for financial assistance and she agreed to help him out. He was grateful and thanked mommy saying, “Let, you’re an angel.” Ganahan kaayo si mommy and she would tell this story repeatedly to us, “let, you’re an angel,” and she was. Mommy Lolet is our angel.
Her death had brought her family into an emotional whirlwind. To most of her children or to us, her apos, death was unacceptable, or unthinkable. We thought we’d go through our individual lives with mommy Lolet always there ready to feed us ice cream with her bare hands or hand out Christmas envelopes with “very poor” but cherished monetary blessings. We thought our supply of chocolate chip cookies would never end (“are you hungry, chi?”) and the steady stream of quotes and greetings written on the whiteboard in the kitchen would continue until we ourselves cease to exist.
But life has its way of surprising us. And even with old age, affliction and disease, we caught ourselves still unprepared for the inevitable when mommy passed away.
We now fondly recall the life we lived with her, digging up our own personal memories with this woman who is so much a part of our life. And in her death, she remains vividly alive in our hearts and continues to pester us with pinches, a lot of poking, and a repeated telling on life and her day-to-day activities. “Kiss sa nanay,” she would often say when we say goodbye. And on her deathbed, I could not help but kiss her and come back for seconds. In my head, I kept hearing her say, “kiss sa nanay, chi” and so I did.
Mommy Lolet lived with us 86 years and we still say that’s not enough. 86 years. But it is enough to make us realize the importance and urgency of time and thus cherish every moment of our own lives, our relationships with our sisters and brothers, with our parents who are still with us, and especially with Daddy Ongcs. With Mommy leaving us, we remember to say I Love You more to each other. Now, it is so much more easier to say that. I Love You. Because of her we are brought together by love. By that, we know Mommy Lolet has lived well.
“mommy, san ka pinanganak?”
“sa manila zoo.”
“lion diay ka, mi?”
“tangina baboy.” (sabay sampal)<
we love you mommy and we miss you a whole lot, sampal included.