I lost my last living grandparent one quiet Sunday morning in October. My grandmother or Lola Elena as we knew her was a wild-fire of a grandma.
She has these expressions in Bisaya (one of the languages in Visayas) that she would use when we did something wrong or mischievous or stayed up past our bed times. She sometimes scared me and made me laugh at the same time when she said those things but I know she meant well. It was that concerned, disciplinarian side of her that only our family knew and recall fondly now.
One major part of her life that the community in Merville knew was my lola was a deeply religious woman. They told me she would’ve entered a nunnery had old age not gotten to her. But that didn’t stop her from being at church or adoration chapel in their village on a daily basis. And you can probably quiz her about all the saints, different images of Mama Mary and she’d be able to answer you.
I didn’t fully understand the roots of her faith but I respected her for it. And that faith I know has taken her to a good place now.
I wrote this eulogy for you, lola.
I have heard fond memories about my Lola Elena shared over the years.
There’s the Mentos and tissue bearing “mother superior” for the priests, seminarian and sisters of church organizations she supported or was part of.
The loving wife to my Lolo Agring. The well-meaning mother to my mom, Marichu, and her eight other siblings. But to me, my brother and all my cousins, she was our doting lola. A lola that knew how to discipline us but would be ready to laugh at any of our silly antics.
My memories of my lola involve the Sunflower-branded crackers she would always offer me when I came to visit. Actually, she would offer me candies, bread or whatever it was she had on hand perhaps out of worry that her apos weren’t eating enough. As you can see that is not really the case, but after being a mother and grandmother for all these years, she knew exactly how to take care of us.
When our lolo passed, I would usually be the one sleeping beside her when we came to visit the family. And at those times, too, she would offer her small pillows and an extra blanket to make sure I didn’t get cold in the middle of the night.
If there’s one thing everyone knows about my Lola Elena, it would be her deep faith in the Lord. While I can’t fully understand her faith, I know well enough to know that has helped her touch and inspire so many other people.
Another thing my lola always has on hand were rosaries, prayer books or pamphlets and scapulets she would always have us bring home. You can just let her know about big and little events in your life and she will ask for God’s guidance for you. Every time any of us celebrate a birthday, she would sponsor a mass for us without fail. She cared as much for our spiritual growth as she did for our physical sustenance.
But my most cherished memory of my lola will have to be about her sharing my passion with writing. Whenever I am asked about how long I’ve been interested in writing, I would recount the time I read Lola Elena a poem about my pet goldfish and how she beamed at the rather juvenile poem. She would always tell me I got my writing chops from her because she was also an editor of her school paper. And I’m inclined to believe her.
I’m sad she had to leave us so soon but I’m also happy she gets to rest peacefully with our Lolo, Tito Andy, and the Lord, whom she has served faithfully in her mortal life.
I love you, Lola, and I miss you so much.