January 13, 1923 – March 23, 1997
Cancer used to be just a word for me, after all, I’m not a kind of guy who dwells in something that doesn’t interest me… Until that day.
It was 1997 when we found out that my grandfather has Lung cancer. A shocker because he has a healthy lifestyle, and He lives in the province, where fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant. He’s a farmer so that would also be like working while exercising.
His lung cancer was a result of his smoking habits, when I was young I used to see him tying the carabao to a tree while smoking a stick. So although he has a healthy environment, smoking became a big factor. ‘Sigarilyong Boss’, That was his brand. Until now I can still recall the Sigarilyong Boss Jingle on AM radio. Old school advertising that gives you LSS (Last song syndrome) all through out the day.
Mamay (as I call him) is a silent Lolo (Grandfather). He’s strict but he’s nice. I can still remember the fresh Lanzones that he brings home. He brings ‘a lot’ and when I say a lot, I mean 3 basket loads of sweet Lanzones that you can only have during the old days. It’s unlike the Lanzones we have now.
Santol, Avocado, Rambutan and Buko are also regular ‘Pasalubongs’ that he brings whenever he comes home or visits us in Lucena city. I miss those days. <sigh>
I barely knew my other grandfather (Amama) because he died when I was just 2 years old. I can remember vivid images of him when I was young. I know he also smokes. And I know he’s fond of his grandchildren because my brothers who knew him well tells me stories about him when we are having our brotherly drinking spree.
So to make the big family tree a small bonzai, And my story shorter than a sneeze, I have two grandfathers (duh?) but I grew up knowing just one.
Life isn’t easy when you have someone sick around you, especially if you are bound by blood, and if you have very close family bond. We all suffered back then, emotionally. I was just a highschool freshmen when it happened. Not too young not to understand, but not so old to handle the stress of seeing my grandfather slowly fade away.
Chemotheraphy, other scientific terms and stuff that I only hear and see in the movies are now a reality. Like a book, the story unfolds, Reality is here and the family elders must handle it.
During those times, I always see my mother praying in the altar (she’s religious) sometimes in tears. Nobody would like to see someone crying, especially your own mother. I think she already called all the saints names, hoping for some kind of divine intervention to take place. I was doing the same. Silently, by my own, in my room.
Months passed by and a dozen chemotheraphy helped kill some of the cancer cells my grandfather has. He’s not getting any better, but it’s helping extend his life. The cancer’s damage has been done.
Mamay withered like an old oak tree, you can see his struggle, and his will to survive.
On one sunny afternoon, he passed away. Peacefully.
He just lied on his deathbed, and everyone started to kiss him, as if that was the last thing he was waiting for. After the last goodbye’s, he closed his eyes. Everyone cried so hard that the neighbors came, they knew Mamay is gone.
I remember running upstairs, getting a fresh piece of ‘Good Morning Towel’ to wipe my tears.
He died peacefully, but I wished that he stayed just a day longer.
Grasping the reality that Mamay is gone ang coping up with the reality that we’ll never see him again is one agonizing experience we all have to endure. But we have to be strong for our Lola (Grandmother).
Sometimes I still wonder if he is still alive here with us. He must be very entertained with Nicole and Adrian’s antics (they are his Great grandson and daughter).
I know Mamay is up in heaven now. Smiling. I’m happy now knowing that he is not suffering anymore, but sad at the same time because he had to endure that pain while he’s still alive.
Everybody dies a little everytime they lose someone very dear to them. I’m not afraid to die, But It chills my spine just to hear someone I love pass away. It’s times like these that you see how much your family really matters.
Death is inevitable, but don’t think about death. Think about your life and how you are living it. Touch as many lives as posible, it’s worth your time.
Spread the love… Parang Chiz Whiz lang.
Hindi ko pa rin natapos ng seryoso ampf 😐
P.S. I Love you Mamay, Inana, Amama, and all our family elders who came, saw, and conquered our hearts.