It was something that we all had expected. At 94, Lolo had lived a full life. He was war veteran, a lawyer, a judge, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a great grandfather.
And yet, I wept when I read my Papa's text. I guess nothing can truly prepare you for the death of a loved one.
My sadness was, however, mixed with a sense of joy and comfort. My Lolo had become very weak in the past several months and it pained me to see him that way. More than that, I know in my heart that Lolo had waited long for his "reunion" with the Lord and also with his great love--my Lola Bella. You see, Lolo was never the same after my Lola died and we all knew he missed her every single day until his death.
At his memorial service last Saturday, I was given the honor of delivering a eulogy for Lolo. I'm reproducing it here so that "my world" can know how greatly I was blessed with a grandfather who loved and cherished me and my cousins.
There is a lot that I want to share about Lolo. In His 94 years, he enriched our lives with many wonderful memories filled with his love, thoughtfulness, and generosity.
One of my favorite memories of Lolo was when he would take us to Fiesta Carnival in Cubao. He would treat us, his apos, to all the rides we want, and would send us home with plastic full of chocolates and candies. Ang paboritong ibigay ni Lolo noon ay Serg's chocolate. At nung nawala iyon, naging Curly Tops, tapos KitKat. Those were some of the most fun afternoons of my childhood, and that was because of Lolo.
No matter how happy they were though, our Fiesta Carnival days were only a sneak peek into the kind of love & affection Lolo lavished on his apos. For me, it was the seemingly small, everyday things that showed how our lolo doted on us apos.
Things like asking us how we were... in a number of different ways like:
O, apo, kamusta na?
Kamusta ang iyong pag-aaral?
Ano ba ang ngalan ng maestra mo?
Ano ang oras ng pasok mo?
Ano ang oras ng uwi mo?
Ano ang gamit mong sasakyan?
Saan kayo nadaan?
On the phone, ang favorite tanungin ni lolo ay:
O nasaan ka apo ko?
Nakauwi ka na ba?
Naulan ba jan?
At ang the best ay.. Anong oras na jan?
Makulit, paulit-uit, at nakakatawa man, pero sa tingin ko, maraming tanong si Lolo because he was genuinely interested in every detail of our lives and longed to keep up our conversations with him. That was his expression of love.
As much as he was an avid listener, Lolo was also a great storyteller. His bestselling stories were his first hand accounts of the war particularly the Bataan March which he survived. I remember going home from a visit to Lolo, and my husband Julz was raving about my war hero grandfather. Julz quipped, "Grabe! Nakapatay ng hapon si Lolo!" I have never before heard that part of Lolo's war experience so napaisip ako kung nagkekwento lang ba talaga si Lolo o sinisindak na si Julz... ;)
There is another memory of Lolo I'd like to share and that was when I was taking the bar. Every sunday night, Papa and I would call him because Lolo wanted to know how I found the day's exams. He was truly perplexed when I told him I found Taxation extremely difficult that even months after, he would ask me what part of tax I didn't understand.
Later, Lolo was one of the first I called to let him know I passed the bar. Through the phone line, I could hear his excitement and I knew then that I did something that made Lolo happy and proud.
The very next weekend, I visited him and found out that he asked to have several copies of newspapers that printed the list of bar passers. He showed them to me, and pointed out that he even had my name highlighted. Sabi nya, "Natutuwa ako, apo ko, nakita ko ang ngalan natin."
The Bible says that there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. Today, I praise the Lord that in His perfect will, He has given Lolo this time to rest and enjoy eternal life.
Lolo, thank you po sa lubos na pagmamahal at pag-aaalala ninyo sa aming lahat. Sabi po nila Papa, even on your last morning, you still remembered to ask about me and my sisters.
Mamimiss po namin kayo. Mamimiss namin ang lahat ng mga tanong ninyo, mga candy at chocolate, at higit sa lahat ang coins pag birthday namin.
Pero Lolo, maligaya na rin po kami na kasama niyo na po ang ating Panginoon at syempre, si Lola Bella. Alam ko pong inantay nyo rin ng matagal ang inyong pagkikita muli. We are sure you are even happier now where you are and with the one true love of your life.
Lo, kayo na po bahala magtanong kay Jesus kung pwede niya i-turn yung wine into... beer. Hehehe! Joke lang po.
We love you, Lolo. At tulad ng lagi ninyo sinasabi saamin pag kami'y magpapalam na, "O sige na pala, lolo ko. God bless you."
In Loving Memory of the Best Grandfather in the World,
my Lolo Pastor.
May 25, 1920 - January 14, 2015
I love you, Lolo.