Last Saturday morning I flew to my hometown in urgency. I'm truly happy I was able to go, even for just two days.
In both days I saw her. My great grandmother, in the ICU, was still fighting for her life at the age of 105. She could no longer communicate with anybody, and was supposed to die a week earlier. But I believe she waited for my grandmother ( her eldest daughter) and I to arrive. I used to spend a lot of time with her as a kid, each time I visited once a year, even if my own cousins who lived next door to her never visited her on their own accord. I'd help with her birthday preparations. During the last decade or so she started giving a bag of rice grains and pancit to nearly the whole village, in thanksgiving for her long life. Sadly, the last three years, she wasn't able to anymore, because her money went to her medicine. Since she lost her sight already, whenever she asked if she was able to give the village people food, she was merely lied to.
She was an avid player of sungka before, and she played a lot with me and talked a lot. She told me about her past, how it was like back then, how her children were.... how they were now endlessly fighting about matters concerning land, rights, and property. She was saddened. She used to pray during the wee hours of 4-6 am everyday, especially for her children. She wanted peace before she was to go. The last few years with the deterioration of her eyesight, her playing of sungka stopped. With the deterioration of her hearing, she talked less and less. It must have been very lonely, her thoughts though as incomprehensible as they may be, stayed to herself. She had companions all the time, and family members visiting her. But she wasn't aware of that anymore. I knew she wanted to ask or know somehow how her children were. But things always were too complicated to explain to her clearly. She needed a simple "yes, *Everybody's fine with everyone".
Even though you couldn't see or hear me, when I touched your arm and forehead, somehow I knew you knew the love. You know my love for you. Thank you for sharing stories with me. Thank you for not shunning me, and loving me the same even though I looked Japanese, and I reminded you of them. Thank you for always saying I was a beautiful one...inside and out. Thank you for the laughter. Thank you for being such a warrior and holding on, continuing to hope that your children would finally make-up. Some time soon, Mama, sometime soon, I hope they will at least have a civilized relationship for your sake. You deserve to truly rest in peace. Mama, from a young age, you taught me so much about the happiness in life. You are my Heroine. Let's play sungka again. And no, unlike before since you were losing your vision, I won't let you get away with cheating anymore! Till we meet again ~ <3 I'm going to also tell you the story of my life. I love you. Consolacion Abejuela. RIP.