As of 3:00Pm Manila, our matriarch has passed on. This did not come as a surprise since my grandmother has been suffering from dementia for quite some time now. She was already catatonic last Sunday
While on my way to the office, my parents have informed me that they were on their way to Pasig for preparations. Her remains will be shipped to Zamboanga to be buried beside her husband in the traditional Muslim fashion.
The 15-minute drive to Eastwood, I was trying to remember what my grandmother was like when she was better.
My uncle and aunts would always say she wasn't the typical motherly love. My grandfather was the funny guy and spoiler while hers is the disciplinarian's hand.
In her prime, she was a workaholic. From practically nothing, they were able to raise half a dozen children and have a decent home in Pasig.
She was neither fashionable nor eccentric. She would always be in her comfy daster while she keeps herself busy sewing some things to recycle into bags, plant boxes or something useful. On a trip, she was carrying a few thousand pesos. They would be kept in a handkerchief and carefully placed in a secret pocket in her undergarments. She would arrive home with more money than when she went out, people would think she was a beggar. This was not degrading to her, she chuckled when she was telling me this.
When we'd visit and she'd have discussions with her children, even in her kulit state, she'd still give plausible and practical arguments.
Years ago I remember her saying in her Ilonggo accent, "Nakalimutan na yata ako ng Allah." Sometimes, "Pagod na pagod na ko. Bakit hindi pa ko kunin ng Allah?" We'd just give an awkward smile.
We weren't really close though. Maybe because we would only visit her twice a year at most, but I picked up a lot from her, especially from stories that were told.
We visited her when she was hit by her dementia really bad. She couldn't recognize me anymore, not even my father. I felt sad for her. Pity. I also realized she did not deserve that, especially from her grandchild. My father had a fit when I said I wouldn't visit her. He wouldn't understand.
I would like to remember her when she chuckles when telling her stories, preserve the memories of her stubborn practicality and her eyes that shine every time we visit her even if she tries to hide the excitement on her face.