Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tita Luz

My maternal grandmother went to the local market one day and came home, not only with the family's food for that day, but a child as well. She was about 8 or nine years old and her name was Luz.

My grandmother relates that she was doing her round on the public market looking for the best produce when she noticed this thin, little girl following her. She thought that she was one of the seller's kid and didn't pay much attention. But, when she was finished and gone out of the marketplace, the girl was still on her heels. She looked around but there doesn't seem to be an adult watching for the child. She beckoned her to come over and though hesitant at first, the little girl opened up to say that she has nowhere else to go because her mother had abandoned her. My grandmother took pity on the girl. She took her home with her.

Nowadays, that decision would not have been very smart. Some would even say stupid because it smells like a set-up. What if it was a con?

But my grandmother obviously did not think it was such. And, she was right. For my Tita Luz, as we came to know her became part of the family. My grandma's two natural children, my mother and my Tita Linda, accepted her readily.

At that time, my grandmother had separated from her husband, my grandfather, and was the sole provider for all her children. That is why, I find it even more admirable that she'd take on that responsibility. For she did not stop with Tita Luz, she adopted another baby from an impoverished relative and named it Wellina.

My grandmother worked hard by doing buy and sell while tending a local sari-sari store and thus provided for them all. When her children where in their teens, she met a man who became her second husband. Things did not work out for them and they separated as friends. But, the gentleman, who have no hopes of fathering a child and who became close to my Tita Luz, asked my grandma to let him raise my Tita.

Tita also became close to him and she willingly agreed. The man promised to take good care of my Tita and he did. She grew up and studied but maintained contact with my grandma and her sisters even when they moved to a different place.

My grandmother went to work at the Far East years ago and is still there but Tita Luz always visited us with her three kids during special occassions. Sadly, though, she married a poor and lazy man and had a difficult life. Her adoptive father and my grandmother still helped her, but she loved her husband and suffered through. She did not even once complained to us.

Three weeks ago, her children came to tell us that she was in the hospital being treated for fatigue. She was hard-working and helped her seasonal working husband by taking on sewing jobs. But, they said she wasn't in any danger and so we just extended a little financial help to them. Then, last Friday, May 6, we got a call from them with the news: their mother, Tita Luz, had died.

Her adoptive father, ailing and old, shouldered most of the expenses. But, due to her long stay at the hospital, his finances had already been stretched. The husband had no money whatsoever and it was sad how it all became a bit of a problem getting her laid to rest.

My grandmother still doesn't know. We're waiting for her to call so we can give her the news. How terribly sad she must feel once she hears that, the little girl she once rescued from abandonment at the local market, the little girl she took home and let into her heart and life as one of her daughters, has gone.

My Tita Luz left three young children. She was buried on May 8, Mother's Day.

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