One magnificent eve-A A +A
Thursday, May 24, 2012
I HAVE always known she was a strong woman, having raised seven kids on her own when she was widowed in her early 30s, and having gotten through the pain of losing two sons to early demise in their 20s. I have never heard her raise her voice, except in jest when pretending to be mad at someone. People at our hometown adored her, and she seemed to know everyone, and liked by most (if not all). Even in her old age you could see she was a being of exquisite beauty, and shone with wisdom that can only be earned by years, hardships and experiences. She was twice an Ulirang Ina Awardee, at the provincial and national levels, in 1997 and 2003.
That’s my Lola Eva.
I seldom saw her while I was growing up. Our family tree, and family history is one that could rival that of the Buendias in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in terms of intrigue, scandal, complexity…and grandeur (translate: “ka-bonggahan”). Although she is an immediate relative, circumstances had kept us apart and I did not have the privilege of growing up in her care like my other cousins did. Whenever I would see her there would be guarded moments, as though she wanted to give more but was holding back. I never took it badly, I could feel she loved me no less and that she was always caring for me, albeit in silence. There were times, in the few times I came to see her, when there would be awkward moments when we did not know exactly how to explain our family relations to others, given the complexity and all. But through all those times I never resented her, or the situation – for me it was all simply part of our lives, one that is to be lived with good acceptance rather than bitterness. I have always known in my heart she loved me as her first grandchild; never mind that I was probably her first biggest heartache as a mother (to my mother).
The first and only time we seriously talked – and just over the phone – was when I was two months pregnant with my first child, in the middle of law school, and she was offering me to stay with her if I did not want to continue my schooling given my situation. I told her I would think about it, but never called back. It may have hurt her, but there was never any awkward moment even after that. I know she knew I was willing to fight it out and that I was raised as a strong person in a line of the strongest-willed women I have known all my life, most of whom belong to our family.
The last time I saw her in Antipolo last March she insisted on riding a tricycle with us on our way to the FX stand for Cubao, since she wants to go to her PT clinic for a check-up. She was very annoyed with all of us since we were all discouraging her from going, since it was drizzling. But it was nothing to her, and she was pointing to me this place in Lopez Jaena somewhere in town, saying we should build a Bayad Center there, giving me a litany of how much it could earn, how convenient it would be, among others. Frankly, I could not concentrate on what she was saying because I was holding her tightly, thinking…heck, what would a 76-year-old woman be doing in this noisy, crampy tricycle? But she was so strong-willed, and so stubborn in getting what she wanted, she reminds me of…me. And I am not so surprised.
I will terribly miss Lola Eva –her thoughtfulness, her kindness, her funny remarks, her snide comments. I will miss her fine cooking, and up to this day I feel bad not having inherited her culinary skills (as Hubby keeps pointing out). I will miss her sweet “LAB YU” over the phone whenever we talked.
She must be making everyone LOL in heaven now. (email@example.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 24, 2012.