Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My Grandfather

It would have been my Lolo's 76th birthday yesterday. He died October of last year due to heart failure. My grandmother asked her children to prepare a special dinner and asked us to offer prayers for my grandfather in honor of the occasion.

I wasn't close to my Lolo. Even though, as the first grandchild, the much-loved 'apo', I was his favorite. At least until my brother arrived on the scene and then he became the favorite. Oh, well.

My grandfather was a difficult man. He was poor and didn't finish school but made something of himself through sheer hard work. He was a seaman until he retired at age 68. Even though he came from humble beginnings, he was able to earn much; he even became sea captain, and traveled the world through his work as an international seafarer. He expected the same of his seven children. To him, none of them came to par and he was greatly disappointed about it. In his later years, he became very bitter and did not hesitate to voice his angry disapproval of all his children and their respective spouses. It came to a point that most of them, along with their families, find ways to avoid him. I admit that I, too, was guilty of that in some respect. I didn't know what to say to my Lolo when he ranted about my father and mother and I found it easier not to get into a discussion with him.

My grandmother, who understandably loves her children and did not demand things from them, became angry with my Lolo for his treatment of their children. It caused an irreconcilable rift between them that in their old age, made them live under the same house with a nary a word to each other.

That was how it was when he died. I loved my grandfather, he was great with all of his grandchildren, but I felt sad that he alienated almost all of his family members. We couldn't do anything to pacify his bitter feelings over his children and then, it was already too late.

He wasn't perfect, but he was my Lolo. And, for that, I love him. I will always remember his caring ways when I was little. The way he'd bring me special toys from his trips abroad and his gentle reminders. I never doubted he loved me nor any of his grandchildren. He loved my Lola very much and so with their children. I guess he didn't know how to show it. He maybe thought that the only way for him to teach his children, even when it became obvious that it was already too late in their age, was to be hard and unrelenting.

I wouldn't really understand. His memories, though, will always be with me, his first granddaughter. Those I will forever hold dear.

I pray you are at peace wherever you are, Lolo. Belated Happy Birthday!


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