Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Woman that is my Grandmother

I spent the day today with my visiting maternal grandmother. It was quite a discussion with my 6 year old daughter to 'postpone' our Charlie and the Chocolate Party movie date for us to accompany my 'lola' (grandmother in Tagalog) today for errands, etc. before she heads back to her home in Palawan.

My lola (Carolina) , an 85 year old admirable woman will be turning 86 on Monday, Aug. 15th. She is the eldest of 4 siblings (incidentally, my great grandmother (Faustina, lola's mom), my mom (Ceres), me, and my daughter (Andrea) are all eldest daughters). She is a strong-willed woman. When she talks, everyone listens.

She grew up in Cuyo, Palawan where she was only able to finish until high school. She eventually became a teacher, gov't. auditor and city councilor. She was also Palawan Museum's 'reason for being' and curator, a writer -- her book 'Puerto Princesa during the Second World War: A Narrative History 1941-1945' (I did the cover design and lay-out for that ), an artist (sewing and pressed flowers), President of FORWARDE (Foundation for Women's Advancement, Rights, Development and Empowerment), co-emcees in their local radio station, Daigdig ng Mga Kababaihan (The World of Women) , an education and information drive on women's gender converns... and a lot more that I can't remember! Whew!!! .....

Anyway, she came to Manila because she was unable to receive her monthly pension for PVOA (Philippine Veterans) for almost a year now. Apparently, to her disgust, she found out that someone submitted a report to that my lola has remarried. She was raging mad not because of the delay or the inconvenience of coming over to Manila to fix things up herself, well... a little mad...---BUT she was more concern of what others might think (I say really... old school..) that she has remarried! We told her it was ok for us if she were.. lol... oh my, did she walked out on us!

She says she's too old for that kind of thing... which made me think. I may not know how lola managed to go through her daily life in Palawan. She lives in Puerto Princesa, in a beautiful house on a cliff facing the Sulu Sea. Her constant companion is her housemaid, and my aunt (nurse). She has kept herself busy doing lots of things... is it to fight her boredom? Is it to set aside certain feelings of loneliness without lolo (my grandfather, died in 1990)? Is it to forget her concerns that she could had done something that could've saved her only son (died last year)?

Lola has gone through lots. When we visited lolo's and my dad's grave in the cemetery this afternoon, she said something about not fearing death and having strong faith in God helped her through all this. I envy her. I am in the middle of a crisis in my life right now... and as I looked at her praying quietly beside lolo's grave, I knew that she's not lonely. She has accepted.

Something that I've yet, too.

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