Remembering him

There was a sense of anticipation in the air. It was a cold Sunday night, and the stars were just starting to shine. 

Everyone was asked to keep quiet, though the kids didn’t know why. Everything was changing, although everything was the same. Inside the 30 year old house, the furniture was moved. The TV was upstairs, and the couches were moved to the porch. Lights flickered through the room as the lights from cars reflected onto the mirrors. The adults was gathered in the living room, though the kids stayed outside. The front gate was open, and from time to time I looked out, hoping to see the white van already. My heart was jumping wildly, as if I have been running for miles. As I walked back towards the garden, my younger sister approached, and with impatience in her voice when she asked me:

“Ate, when is Lolo coming home?”

Her innocence almost made me cry, and fought the urge to tell her. The tears were brimming, and I wiped it away, trying to be strong for the young ones. As the eldest grandchild, I wanted to be brave. Though I was still shaken, I tried to distract myself. I looked around the familiar surroundings; the broken window, the little plants and the dogs that guarded the gate. Nothing seemed amiss; everything was still the same way as every day.  But when I got inside the house, everything was drastically changing. It felt more and emptier every time I looked at all the familiar things. It came to a point that everything was strange. I tried to shake off the feeling as I walked towards my mother, her face stiffened and her eyes tired.

“Ma, is it on the way?”

She merely nodded, and continued to distract herself by talking to my aunts and my Lola. They were all seated in their places on the old dining table, and there was that one chair that no one dared to sit on. Hushed voices were around, but within me I felt alone. The deafening silence grew, and I began pacing the empty living room.  I knew that in a few moments this place would be a sight of pain. I walked again to the gate, and then I saw a white van. I saw the name of the famous saint on the front of it, and my heart pounded again as I knew it was the right one. My uncle also saw it, so he told everyone to go into the house. The kids became excited, as they came to me and kept asking if Lolo was finally home. The van backed up, and the kids were shouting

“Lolo! Lolo!”

My heart was shred into pieces when they stopped shouting. There was that deafening silence again, as a white coffin showed when the back of the van opened.

“Ate…”

My youngest sister said with her voice cracking. She looked around, her eyes lost in translation. My other sister had tears brimming and I held them close. They finally understood. The three of us were crying, holding each other close. 

As the men in white set up a stand in the living room, with all their decorations and flowers, I started to calm my sisters down. And when they carried the coffin, I prayed my hardest that this just wasn’t true. I kept blinking my eyes, hoping this was all a dream. As everything else subsided, a few minutes later I stared at the coffin. As I sat there and watch him, he looks like he is sleeping; there was peace in his face. No more tubes sticking down his throat, no more tubes injected in his hands. There were no more tears of hardship.

I feel like he isn’t even dead, like when I go to the store I would find him cooking in their kitchen, then I’d hug him real tight like I always did when I saw him. Then I’d kiss him on the cheek, scream good morning then I’d leave the store with him going back to his work. I sometimes imagine that when I open the door to their house I’d meet him, or that he’d get mad at me for not closing the door again. I imagine being able to massage him whenever I could, then hugging him tightly whenever I saw him.

As the days dragged on, people came and went. They all said that they always remembered my Lolo smiling, like he was always happy. Everyone agrees to this, that in some point of their life, my Lolo was a part of it somehow, like he was there to help them in some way. They all laughed, though there was grief all around. No one cried too much, and his presence was everywhere.

Every story became a piece of a puzzle, a piece of a time how he treated everyone. Every time we remembered him, we would end up laughing, with his wisecracks and jokes. And as I remembered his final moments with me when I slept on his bed in the hospital, I smiled. I remembered him combing my hair with his fingers, thinking I was asleep. I smiled remembering that moment when he realized I was crying, he said through the tubes that were in his nose:

“Don’t cry. Stop crying.”


 He didn’t want us to be unhappy, because he has done so much to make us happy. And that’s how I realized, that my Lolo not only found the fountain of immortality, he basked in it. He shared it with people, secretly giving them a sip of what he had even when he had nothing. And now as I write this, with tears streaming down my face and my hands shaking, I know he’s here, wiping my tears. I smile remembering and realizing the best lesson he taught me wasn’t taught verbally. I learn it by reflecting on his life, by letting me see the little pieces of the puzzle of his life. He taught me everything that the others only dream of. He taught me that the secret of immortality is to leave everyone with a smile on their faces.

——————-
Written almost a month after he died, two years ago. 🙁 It’s still great to remember him though. 🙂
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26 Replies to “Remembering him”

  1. Thank you for sharing! I know it is always hard to write or even think about someone that has passed.

  2. It's a beautiful tribute to him. And I love the pictures! My grandmother passed about a decade ago now, but I still remember how wonderfully beautiful she was to my life. 🙂

  3. It is so wonderful to be able to remember your grandfather as being a great human being who always thought of others and brought happiness where ever he went-he could not have left a better legacy. You will always miss him but will also always smile through those tears as you remember the good times.

  4. What a heartbreaking story to read. It's obvious how loved he was and thank you for sharing this. What a great way to honor his memory.

  5. The beauty of it is how as we keep missing, cherished memories somehow try to fill the void and bring us back smiles. Beautifully written

  6. what a beautiful tribute sad but beautiful this made my heart smile thank you for sharing your memories hugs

  7. OMG….I'm crying now. It reminds me of my grandfather that I lost 3 years ago.

  8. I'm sorry for your lost. I recently lost a member of my family. It hurts so bad!! But we have to remain positive.

  9. It's hard writing about a loved one! You did a great job! I always find it hard just thinking about a loved one that has passed.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss, even if it is not recent the pain is always there. It is always nice when you can do something to remember the great memories that were shared with your loved one.

  11. That is such a touching tribute. And it is always good to remember loved ones. 🙂

  12. I have to admit I couldn't finish this – I lost my Gran at the weekend and its still so hard – I just want her back so much which I know it selfish x

  13. You have the amazing memories to hold onto!

  14. Its nice to write about the memories of those no longer here!

  15. Sorry for your loss. It is hard losing someone you love; someone who has such an impact in your life. It's wonderful that the wonderful memories and stories keep you going

  16. It's always great to remember your loved ones. What a wonderful picture of you both

  17. This is a great post. It's always important to remember those who passed, no matter how long it's been. I still think about my grandfather every day, even though he has been gone for over six years now.

  18. He sure left wonderful memories in everyone's mind. What a guy he was!

  19. He will always live on through your memories and photos. How wonderful that you can write such beautiful thoughts and words inspired by your loved one.

  20. This is beautiful. Simply beautiful! I'm not sure what else to say!

  21. That was really touching. Both of my grandparents died within a year of each other- 5 and 6 years ago. I still have a hard time with it, but I know they wouldn't want me to cry over their loss. I'm lucky in many ways, I had over 30 years with my grandparents. The benefits of my mom having me young.

  22. What a wonderful writing. I had tears in my eyes. You both look so happy in the picture.

  23. How sad but still an uplifting story. This was almost like my dad. I lost him a year ago and I still feel like he is here with me. He's no longer suffering but I know wherever he is he is happy. I miss him so much!

  24. Thank you for sharing these feelings and memories! His love and connection is evident through your words!

  25. He looks like a very happy man and full of joy… My condolences and heartfelt wishes to you and your family… <br />Eliz

  26. What a moving situation. I am also the oldest grand child.

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