I’m his first grandchild, though people usually think I’m the third or the fourth because I don’t look older than the next 3, haha. Read on if you feel like it. I thought it high time for a good ramble dedicated to my grandfather.
I had many fond childhood memories with Lolo but I wasn’t as close to him as someone raised by their grandparents would be because Lolo was still working hard past his mid-life period. I was much closer to him when I was very little. He loved and married the same beautiful lady for 59 years.
To him, marrying Lola didn’t end at the altar. For Lolo it was certain, the person you wed is someone you marry daily over and over again. He had 9 children with Lola and 30 grandchildren followed. All his 9 independent children married and are married by grace to this day to 9 beloved in-laws. Lolo, as a father, was an imperfect, stubborn force to be reckoned with but had the biggest, cheerleading heart. He was much better at being affectionate and I tried to watch but couldn’t empathize. Affection was always my “Needs Improvement” sheet…no really, I’m the snarkiest. If you asked me who I’d be in personality in the Disney cartoons no matter how much I tried to hope for leggy Disney Princesses to first pop in my head instead Kerchak, Kerchak for goodness’ sake…Tarzan’s chest pounding silverback father always came to mind, but Kerchak loved deeply even if only a few understood. I watched Lolo Dony a lot when I was young and thought him a little strange because he was not like Kerchak, he was more like Baloo from The Jungle Book, it’s like he was bursting with love half the time, holding food, and scratching his back.
Lolo Dony on the left passed away just last week, while Lolo Vicente passed away when I was very young.
What I liked about Lolo Dony was his ability to be there in full, but that was certainly only possible because he was his own boss. His executive assistant said at the wake “Naalala ko nung nagkamali ako sa pag-sked, pag sinabay yung meeting dun sa birthday ng anak, NAKU, nasabon ako ng todo at nabanlawan pa, ultimo piano recital ng apo, ayaw niya mamiss.” Lolo’s time for you was HIS time for you. When you were in front of him he saw you completely and had important, exciting things to tell you and he wanted to know the important, exciting things you were supposed to tell him. If you didn’t have anything to tell he would tickle or winkle it out of you if you were a kid. Even if what you had to say was about your adventures in the empty kaingin-scorched fields in Tali, Batangas, concerning the relevant rebuke of carabao poop with the wave of a golf club it all still mattered to him. He listened with arching eyebrows, huge eyes, and a big smile with the huge patronizing tone you still enjoyed and needed so badly as a kid.
He was also always highly concerned about…what I always avoid mentioning here, my ground zero love life complete with matching barbed wire (I say Ground Zero with fond memories and gusto because it always made my former salon personnel laugh, we laughed a lot at that expression). From the lips of the man who engineered this community of kin that we’re all a part of now came forth lucid thoughts and advice that were a prized commodity in his senile state a couple of years ago. There was this brief window during that time awhile back after dialysis where he suddenly rose above his dementia. The dialysis (a flushing and purifying of blood) cleared his mind suddenly for about 3 days and he saw me in the ICU and recognized me. I was stunned. “Are you married na? Wala pa, GOOD. That’s okay.” I moved nearer, it was a chance to ask the talking oracle with a beauty queen wife and 9 offspring what he thought about my status and he went on “Do not be sweet to a boyfriend if you have one, that is the last thing you ought to be to him before marrying, it is HE who should be sweet to you. You have waited this long for the right man… i-SURE mo na. Don’t settle for just anybody kahit matagal…just be sure.” Lolo knew I wasn’t naman the type of girl who cried herself to sleep about marriage, but he also knew my mind had big and tiny wheels, lots of them and those needed encouragement oil to run smoothly. Lolo wanted me to feel secure in who I was, even if I had to be bereft of thoughts of marriage with no swag silhouettes on the horizon he really first believed that anyone on the lookout male or female always ought to be sure of themselves.
“I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to any one less worthy”
– Mr. Bennet, Pride & Prejudice
I feel free to say all this now because this REALLY was my last memory of my grandfather talking to me with a sober mind and I thought his advice might help some of you out there (I almost rolled my eyes when he spoke because it was about being married na naman lol, wala bang ibang topic). He saw me and quickly had all these things to say to me…about marriage. I certainly wasn’t going to discuss my single state at the wake even if it was my last lucid moment with Lolo. I love him very much and please to be clear I would never PRAY to my Lolo (please don’t EVER pray to the dead or ask mediums, ghastly spirits will answer on their behalf!) but I kind of know he’s probably egging angels on up there (when he shouldn’t be) and pestering God, asking about each of us grandkids…trying to amend and recommend for our futures like he always did. Love you, Lolo. Godspeed.