Growing up as a kid, summer vacation meant that I would go to our grandma’s place.
The joy of staying at her place without my parents meant I could do whatever I wanted to do and I could explore as far as I could, because, you know, grandmas allow what moms don’t. 😂
A Safe Place in the Summer
I never felt afraid being left all summer with her. My cousins and I would play all day and we knew she’s there but there was no angry old lady shouting at us like what I often see in movies and cartoons portrayed about grandmas. Instead, she was a very gentle and quiet lady, you wouldn’t even know she’s there. She moved around the house discreetly without bothering the rest of the people. Her very presence there assured us that we were in good hands.
A Miracle Chef in the Summer
She prayed and food came. Her countless stories of how feeding her family when there was literally no money and food available are some of the testimonies I treasure. I saw it with my own eyes during my summer stays there. Imagine being left with many hungry kids in her house. I remember seeing her walking around the house, then outside, then coming home with different produce. She would lay down the famous gabi nuggets on the table. She told us a secret. Use gabi to extend the meat. We thought we were eating meat bola-bola, but she told us the meat was not enough for all of us so she had to grate gabi to make it more than enough and we didn’t even realize it, had she not told us. I learned a lot of recipes for the ‘poor’ from her. I mean resourceful recipes that are delicious but with added ingredients that served as extenders that could make the dish look more for a big family.
A Story-Teller in the Summer
It was as if my history books came to life in her stories. Her stories were confirmations of what’s written on my textbooks. She would tell stories of how they would run to the mountains once the alarm went on. It meant the conquering countries were coming. They would wait in the mountains and helicopters would just drop their foods. Oh, she was a real life “Lola Basyang”. All you had to do was ask a question and stories will flow. She was also a very honest woman. I asked about family secrets and she told me every detail. 🙂😂
A Woman of Grace not only in Summer
I have never seen her fight with other women in the streets nor quarrel with a loud voice towards her husband, her kids, and even her naughty grandkids. She was always very gentle and caring. She would engage in exchange of words but not in a loud and unruly manner.
From the way she walked to the way she danced on the dance floor during her ballroom events, she would steal everyone’s eyes among others her age who danced. She would have that Maria Clara smile while swiftly changing steps, gracefully allowing her partner to lead her until the last step.
Grace towards people, grace in manners—she embodied the very word.
A Woman of Strength All Summer
At the age of 84, she climbed with me and my kids as we trek the summit of Tayak/Tanaw Hill in Rizal, Laguna. I was losing my breath, she was steadily chilling with her umbrella. She walks a lot, the climb was not new to her. Shame on me. 😂
The End of Summer
I guess my summers with her has finally come to an end. She peacefully gave up her last breath yesterday. My summers will never be greeted again with her wrinkly hands and soft kisses. There won’t be long walks with her anymore as I tread the whole neighborhood with her every time she visits her amigas. Summers will never be the same in her place again. I will miss her gracious ways, her smiling face, and her comforting warnings and instructions whenever I am all set to go back to Manila.
Finding New Summer Memories
I remember an advice I read from a support group a year ago about death. Never say everything will be back to normal again to a person who just lost someone, because it will never be normal again. The term to say is you will find a “new normal.” Things will be different this time, routines will change as I drive myself towards this new normal the moment I visit her place again.
My summers, once I go back to my grandma’s place will for sure never be the same again, but I am positive that I will be creating new summer memories with the people I will find there. I will be discovering places with my kids and give them a taste of the old summer memories my lola allowed me to experience. I will keep telling stories to my kids of my summer days and nights with my grandma and let the new summer memories intertwine with them to make colorful moments.
It is the end of an old summer but definitely a time to create new summer memories.
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 11
All of us under heaven has its season and time and God made sure that there is beauty in whatever time we are in. You just have to find the beauty behind the ashes.
G-LOG #21: The End of Summer