They say that grandmothers love their grandchildren more than their own children. In my grandmother’s case, she has hundreds of grandchildren plus great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren to love; she all witnessed these at the age of 83.
The news of my grandmother’s passing came when my family were vacationing in Boracay. We hurriedly flew back in Manila and saw her on the morgue. I can still remember the scene. She was lying on what looks like a stretcher, on the floor at the entrance of the morgue, waiting for the 48 hours SOP before she gets prepped up. My mom hugged and kissed her while crying, a heartbreaking scene but I don’t remember shedding a tear. It’s a feeling of overwhelming sadness to the point of breaking down but surprisingly, there were no tears.
I told JM several times how I wished he had met my grandmother, one of the most loving and giving mother of all. She sacrificed her life to 14 children, and up until her old age, she sacrificed being away and “alone” in the United States just so she can help her children financially in need back here in the Philippines. How I miss Ima. I remember running to her when I was a child whenever my mother was mad and ready to spank me with a broom or slippers. I would run to her knowing that with her, I won’t get spanked. I remember every time she visits from the US, there is a special package for me… a set of perfume and lotion, or a handbag, something that you know was well thought of with my name on it, spelled “Erlene”, “Erleen” or “Arleen” (Other spelling variants of my name except the correct one. hehe). And she does call me “ER-len”, something which I was making fun of back then, but missing now. With other grandchildren, it’s more of a box of chocolate for the whole family or a soap, or a towel, but with me there’s always something special. Something she bought only for me. I miss Ima. I miss playing cards with her, I miss her rituals. She’s a lola with a good smell, she powders all the time. She would even spray perfume and put lipstick on. She takes care of herself. Much as how she takes care of her children and hundreds of Apos (grandchildren).
This year, 3 years since Ima’s death, my Aunt from the states came home to celebrate her birthday. She dreamt of Ima asking her to come home. So she hurriedly book a flight and took 3 weeks of work leave. It was a fun reunion, the family almost complete with only one or two family members not present.
Lots of relatives carried her, and she smiled and cooed and giggled and shouted
They say she’s a mini me. They should know… these same hands carrying my little girl carried me when I was this small too 🙂
We Love You IMA!!! We know you are looking down at all of us. We miss you.