Monday, May 11, 2009
My wife's grandmother grew up and raised her children in Sagada. She died at a hospital in Baguio last week, on May 7. My wife was able to talk to her on her last moments in the hospital. She will not be able to go home to the Philippines to attend the wake due to a couple of constraints. She shared her baya-o (eulogy) for her lola at their clan's email group. That got forwarded to another Sagada email group, and somehow, it got back to us. Talk about being viral. I've added some notes in parenthesis to translate Kankana-ey words. Here's what my wife wrote:
My earliest memory of Lola Lucia was when we were still in Tadian. Everytime I got sick, I would request for her and she would come from Sagada. I don't know, but her mere presence just made me feel better. Maybe because she always had a festive mood. She always had a cheerful attitude. She shared many, many stories with me and my siblings.
I will never forget how she would lovingly and tightly squeeze my arms as if to tell me "this is how much I love you." I cannot recall my lola wearing a sad face. She always smiled and showed how happy she was to be with her ap-os (grandchildren).
Lola Lucia was a woman of strong faith. She chose not to worry for her children. Instead, she prayed and prayed for them and never gave up hope.
When I learned that she has already left us, I cried so much. Not because she was gone, after all, she lived a full life of 84 years. I regret that I didn’t return her generosity and her love in recent years. Lola Lucia had always been there for me but I don’t think I was always there for her.
As I reflect on her life, I think about how friendly she was. She greeted everyone with a ready smile, and with words of encouragement. She was not a rich woman, but I’ve seen how she gave to others who were more in need. She was always humble, always thankful; I never heard any complaint from her. I’ve also never heard her get angry as she was always kind and gentle, always full of love. This is a gift I want to learn from her; especially as I am now a mother and a wife.
My sons may not have seen her as much as their cousins have, but they will remember her. In fact, they know that one of the prayers they sing every night was taught by my lola Lucia. It goes like this,
"Jesus, bantayam dakami (Jesus, please watch over us)
Isnan maseseypan mi (During our slumber)
Ta nu magido kami (So when we wake up)
Wada kas nan nemnem mi. (You will be in our thoughts.)"
I trust the Lord that He gladly welcomed Lola Lucia in His kingdom. I once shared the gospel to her and she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Maybe, that's the reason why, in spite of her life here on earth, she was never seen with a sad face, maybe all that time, she was just hopeful, that someday, she will be in paradise, where life is much better and happier.
Lola Lucia, I will forever cherish you in my heart. I am grateful for all the wonderful memories and the many lessons I learned from you. I will miss your tight hugs, your warm smile and your encouraging words. Till we meet again. I love you so much.
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