Valentines weekend, I was sitting on my couch Sunday evening and I get a call or text from my dad saying that my grandma was in the hospital and she had a stroke. Shortly after, I got a call from my sister saying she was on her way to the hospital and that my grandma didn’t have a lot of time left. I jumped off the couched, got dressed and ran out the door and drove to the hospital. I cried the whole way there.
I got to the hospital and my cousins were there already with my dad. I went in to see her and I stood by her feet, squeezing her toes. I was afraid to go near her, I don’t know why. She had a breathing tube and was on life support but there was no brain activity. Later on in the evening, the nurses were talking about taking her off life support. We waited until my last cousin got to the hospital before they took her off life support. The nurses said either she will stop breathing and pass away or she may breathe on her own. We were all thinking the other. One by one, we all said our goodbyes. The nurses went in and took her off life support and walked out and said “I’m sorry for your loss.” But she was breathing on her own. We waited and waited and she continued to breathe on her own. It got really late and she seemed to be doing ok so I decided to go home.
The next couple of days were just a waiting game. I kept asking my dad, how is she doing? They said she seems to be doing better and they were even considering hospice care. I didn’t want to think it and I didn’t want to be the one to say it but even if she did pull out of it, there is no brain activity, she would be a vegetable and I don’t want her to come back that way. I never told anyone that. A day later, she passed away.
The weird thing was, I didn’t cry, I couldn’t cry. When all this happened, it was the busiest time at work for me. I was always so swamped at work that when I got home, I was exhausted. The next two weeks, my sister and cousins worked endlessly on the preparations for the funeral. I still wasn’t crying. I didn’t feel anything. Maybe it was because I was busy at work? When I would talk to my mom, she would tell me that my sister would be balling her eyes out every time they spoke. I’m still thinking, my mind is preoccupied so I am not feeling anything. I figured I would feel something at the wake and the funeral.
The day of the wake, I still really didn’t feel like I thought I should. I was kinda crying but not really. I went up to her casket and looked at her, my sister was standing next to me and she broke down. I was still just lightly crying. Later on in the day I was talking to my cousin RJ and we were reminiscing about the times we would spend with Lola (our grandma), that’s what we called her. It came time to where they were getting ready to send everyone home so everyone made their last rounds going up to her casket. When I got up there, and this time it came out of no where but at the same time expected, I just lost it! I cried so hard and so loud and was huddled over her. I haven’t cried like that in a very long time.
The next day was the funeral. My sister had asked me if I wanted to say something during the service and I said no for several reasons but I’m not going to get into that. To this day I regret not standing up there and saying what I needed to say when I had the chance. I know I posted it on instagram but I feel like it’s not the same. Even if I post it here or how ever many times I say it, It’s not the same as if I would have said it then.
To my Dearest Lola,
I didn’t share my story about you when I had the chance so I’m going to share it now.
One memory I will never forget… when we were little and you used to take care of us, there was one day at Tita Bebe’s house, I wanted to eat a balut. I stuck it in the microwave and it exploded. You got mad at me and laughed at the same time. I will never forget the look you had on your face but now every time I think back to that time I just think of you and it makes me laugh and smile. I don’t remember if you made me clean up the mess or if you did.
Every time I saw you, you would always ask me how I was doing, in Tagalog of course, “O Carrie, kamusta na?” And me not being able to speak tagalog anymore, I would answer you in English. At some point you would tell me in tagalog that you can’t understand me anymore and we would just look at each other and laugh. I miss your laugh and your smile. I will love and miss you forever and always.
To my dearest Lola, I love you and I miss you. I hope you are happy up there with Lolo. I know you are always watching over us.