Yesterday was Nanay’s cremation. While others watch the process from a seemingly window-like opening while her body was being transferred to the oven, I chose not to watch.
I want to remember her as she is when she was still a jolly, alive and able-bodied figure though the last memories were really painful, especially to Papsie. My daughter even erased her photos on the coffin in our camera when a relative borrowed it and took pictures of her. I guess we would not want to remember her in that condition. A nice funerary box with ornaments like a design furniture would not even erase the truth that Nanay’s gone.
And as a nephew uttered, ‘too late for a wake up call for those who were not able to ask forgiveness or to have shown love and kindness in her painful and dying moments“. All that everybody could do is to change whatever (hard feelings, hatred, et al) everybody was not able to repair and to show love and bestow forgiveness. This is what Nanay wanted to.
Son Daryl was not able to attend the last rites and to come to her cremation. He was saddened actually that he cannot be able to read this piece of writing:
” I did not cry when I heard of my lola’s passing; I did not shed a tear for if I did it would not be for her sake. I say to the people that it was only just for her to die as she did for her life had already achieved fulfillment. The fact of the matter is that she was ready to die. I say to the people that they should be happy for her suffering has now ended; she is now at peace. I say these things, knowing fully well that such words cannot erase the pain, the pang, and the hurt people felt and probably are feeling right now.
To many of us, lola has been and still is a pillar – a paragon of strength and resilience. Despite having lived through World War II and Martial Law, lola remained strong and steadfast for the sake of her family. She toiled hard; she was industrious. She truly worked her butt off. All of this she did for her brothers, sisters, husband, sons, daughters, granddaughters, grandsons and even her great grandchildren. Indeed, she has more than served her part as the “ilaw ng tahanan” as we Filipinos would say.
To many of us, lola’s kindness and love proved to be a haven, a home to come to when we were in the darkness. The amount of help she had given people is not something that can be easily measured; I digress,it cannot be measured. Her love was not only reserved for her family but also for her friends; her kindness an example for us to follow.
It then is understandable why many of us were pained when we saw her strength crumble in the past few years, months, weeks, days and hours of her life – why, at the twilight of her life, we were pained to see her suffer and to see her diminished. It is now apparent why many of us cried at the time of her death, for even if we knew beforehand that her death was imminent, we also knew that we had lost a great sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother – all in all, a great person.
Now, I say these things not to exalt her on a pedestal; nor to make her seem immaculate and faultless. Many times, I would be irked at her constant calling of my name whenever she is in need of this or that; many times, I would frown whenever she speaks of how this person or that person did this or that. My lola was overly critical and very hard to please. I remember one time when my father cooked sinigang and she said that it was salty even when most us found it delicious. Yes, she was that hard to please.
No, my lola was not perfect; no one is, and no one ever will be. What my lola was, however, was that she was human. She was a human who tried her very best to be a good person in the way she saw fit; and to a very great extent, she succeeded.
So now, we have come to bid our final farewells to one Leonisa G***** A********. I would not say to you all not to cry for that is a very difficult thing to do. I would not say that we all should be happy for that seems almost impossible at a time filled with mourning. I would not say that life will be easy – that life would be the same from hereon after. However, what I would say is that we should all be thankful. Thankful for what, you ask? Well, for many things; that God has given us Nanay, Nanay Taba, Leoningning, Lola Taba or whichever name you’ve come to call her; we should thank God for making her part of our lives. We should be thankful that lola’s suffering has ended. Finally, we should be thankful that, I believe, Leonisa, my dear lola, has found her peace in the arms of heaven.
Lola, we will always love you… “