Till We Meet Again, Lola Cion
Friday, February 8, 2013 • 6:31 AM • 0 comments

When I was younger, I thought that my grandparents are strong and won't be away until we're ready enough to let them go. But I was wrong. It was the 31st of January when my Lola Cion died from stroke and that's how the world snatch the word "Lola" from my mouth.

On the 1st day of February, I just found myself taking up one of the very first trip going to Ilocos Norte. It is very unusual for (1) It's not yet vacation time (2) I was traveling alone and (3) My parents will freaked out cause they never let us travel alone to far away places. Did I mention that Ilocos Norte is 8-10 hours trip via bus? Well, I guess this is growing up. From that moment I felt that Im not a kid anymore who needs guidance from her parents. I quickly became a granddaughter who's dying to see her loving grandmother.

Its almost dawn when I set my foot on the familiar place where my childhood and innocence can be traced. There were lots of chairs, tables, flowers and also people who were paying their respect to our Lola. The inside of the house is too bright. I was scared. Not because Im afraid to see a coffin or other creepy things being associated with death. Its just, Im not ready to see my Lola in that state. I mean, how can someone too important in your life can leave the world so suddenly? How can that someone, in just a blink of an eye be gone forever? But I continue on walking until I reached her coffin. My vision became blurred. My tears are already staining my cheeks and here comes the memories flashing right before my eyes.

I was one lucky child. I had a happy childhood. Almost every vacation time or every 2 years, we visit my father's hometown- Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It's a place being famous with Ilocos empanada, langgonisa and one of the world heritage, Paoay Church (which I bragged to my elementary classmates cause I had my baptism there haha!). But what comprise a happy childhood and a happy life are my loving grandparents and relatives. 

I can still remember that my Lolo and Lola are always asking if ever we had a hard time traveling cause my sister and I are always throwing up inside the bus hahaha! Then there's our Lola Cion who's always waiting for us to arrive outside their house . The breakfast were already cooked and even the merienda is already prepared. That's the only time when our parents tolerated our too much intake of soft drinks because our Lola said so. Whenever we're having our vacation there, our Lola will cook lots of food and my cousins and I will all be feasting. Our Lola is also a little bit of KJ haha! Eventhough, we were near the ocean, I didn't experience much of the  beach because our Lola is frightened that something bad might happen to us. I can still remember, I was 9 years old then and we were at the Bayan because its fiesta and its my cousin's birthday. We decided to go the beach the next day so we bought floaters and cute salbabida but when we arrived home, our  Lola freaked out so we didn't go the beach hahahaha! When my cousins and I were playing too hard, she will just appear out of nowhere with the dialogue, "Ayy apo! Sumardin kayo." When I was younger, Im wondering why she's like that but as I grew up I realized that she's just concerned and didn't want anyone of us to be in danger. My Lola can't understand too much tagalog that's why we can only converse with her using Ilocano language which Im not good at. So I need to transmit my words first to my  parents. Its such a regret that I didn't put much effort in learning Ilocano. Our Lola also knew lots of medicines. So it's not really a problem whether it's stomach ache, headache, cuts, wounds- she can cure us with her medicines. She would even let me sleep with the lights open because she knew that Im afraid of the dark.  That is why whenever we need to go back to Manila, my sister and I would end up crying cause we're missing our relatives especially Lolo and Lola. Our parents would say, "Dont cry. We can always come back."

Yes, I came back again. And I came back crying. Because  the person  that I should only miss for some months will now be miss forever. And forever is such a long time. 

I pinched myself. Im not dreaming. The scenes that flashed right before my eyes, the moments that my mind is showing, they were all memories. Its over. Im grown up. And right in front of me is my Lola's lifeless body. I blinked a couple of times and my eyes are still pooling with tears. I badly want to shout. I wanted to run. I wanted to turn back time. I mean how did it all happen? Why so sudden? We just visited them last May. We just talked to her on the phone the last day with all excitement in her voice because of her birthday. And now she's gone?

She even told us the last time that she will be going to our graduation and she want the celebration to happen in their house. My mom agreed. An even though its hard for my sister and I, we really put our effort on our studies cause we knew that our grandparents will be too happy to see us on our graduation day. But suddenly, everything turned into dust. And I can't accept the fact that our loving and sweet Lola is now gone. I can still feel her presence. Her voice is too clear in my mind. As I look into her hands, I can still remember her warmth. Her laughter is even ringing in my ears. But she's nowhere to be found. Cause the reality is, she is now gone. She's living in a way that's different from ours. By this time, she's now with God. And everything is not the same anymore.

And what's more tormenting is that I can't stay until her burial because of exams. So I always stay beside her coffin during my four days stay on her wake. And at my last day, I badly want to hug her and say sorry that I can't even stay. Even though its hard, I knew that she won't like it if I ditch my exams and don't graduate at all. I still want to fulfill my last promise to her. So I looked at her again for the last time and said my  goodbye. As walk out of the house, I knew that it would be the last time that I would see her. She may not be here physically but I knew that she will guide us all. No matter how many years passed, she will always be our sweet, loving and kind Lola Cion. You will always stay in our hearts lola. May you rest in peace.
Ay ayaten ka. Mailiw nak kenka.

One of our very first photo with Lolo and Lola when they visit us at Pasay

We were 4 or 5 here and they were busy arranging the garlic. Oh! I suddenly miss the old house :)

Grade 3, I guess. We were sorter than them before haha!

Photo with my grandparents and my cousins. December 2011 during Tita Ema's 3rd death anniversary.

May 2012.

Lola is smiling sweetly :)

My cousin made this one and it made us all cry.

I never knew that the photos will just ended up in here. May you rest in peace Lola. See you again soon. Please guide us all. We love you!

Gladys/22 years old/Philippines

Im beyond your peripheral vision and aiming for art school.Im a provinciana girl at heart. I do think too much and contradicts myself most of the time.The internet doesn't speak for itself. There's more than meets the eye.