today, my family marks my lola's 10th year death anniversary. we had mass and have dinner at my aunt's place like we do every year. And eventhough a decade has gone by, i still remember the day my lola died like it was yesterday...
lola's house was empty at that time. lola was in tagaytay with her "barkada". she decided to cool her head off there since she was still disappointed of my aunt who went to the states for vacation against her wishes. and since nobody was staying in my aunt's room at that time (i think it was a day before at that time since she left for us), me and my cousins decided it would be fun to have some sort of slumber party in her room (we were always welcome anyways). The morning broke and the phone was incessantly ringing, but since there were maids in the house, we left it up to them to answer the line. A few moments later, we heard wailing downstairs. This was wailing, not just crying, but wailing. We rushed downstairs, me, my ate minnie, ericson, ate ging, and ate michelle. Then we saw her there, my lola, who at that time seems just on a state of deep sleep, while my relatives start pouring and filling up the sala where her body was situated. Her yaya told us that my lola became sick sometime that early morning because of all the food she took the day before and they immediately tried to rush her to manila, but on the way, she heard a vein pop and lola just layed in her arms. My family at that time was already making preparations for her interment, making sure all the papers were in order when they realized my aunt was still on the plane. They decided to call my aunt's friends who went along with her. Her friends informed my aunt that they had to go back immediately because some emergency has happened with their family. My aunt, completely gracious, was willing to fly back with them, but sensed that the excuse wasn't completely true. She kept on asking what the emergency was, but as her company ignored every question, the worry she felt grew even more. It was only when she saw the black cloth hanging from our gate that her fears were confirmed. She couldn't bring herself to enter our compound, knowing lola died without her having to say she's sorry. She cried and cried at our parish church until she was ready to face my lola's remains. Up to this day, she still guilts herself out of what has happened.
lola was one strong character. She was bisaya with the most beautiful spanish mestiza features, she raised eight kids when my angkong passed away when my father was in his late teens. she welcomed my angkong's second family when they decided to move here from china, and treated his two other sons as his own. my family has a strong matriarchal hold which i truly think stems from her. She was always and forever the best cook in our family. everybody learned from her, my family, the helpers, the laborers, her friends. I got my name from her (Clara, Clarissa ; Lala, Lallie) and i hope she looks down one day and say i did her name proud.