I arrived late for the funeral mass but in time to hear the emotional eulogies of her grandchildren. Those who did not made it sent theirs through email. These messages were read first. All were moving dedication to honor the sacrifices of their beloved “Wawa”.
Maidu, one of the grandchildren, told me to say a eulogy. Good thing I never got called. I got away from something that I was too afraid to do.
If I were given a chance to speak I would’ve said the following:
“I’m not a grandchild, as you can see, I don’t look as good as her grandchildren but I felt I was. Don’t blame me. Blame her. She made me believe that I was and I honestly believe that I am until I realized that she’s too white to be my grandma! But by the time I realized that everything was a set up, it was too late, I already love her so much. She has taught me a lot of things. This article would take weeks to finish If I’m to going list everything down but looking back I like the one she told me about “Dreams”. I’m not sure why she insist on this “having a dream” stuff when at that time I was too young to understand having one. The dream that I know takes place when one is asleep but having one while you’re awake is something else. But later on in life I found out that what she was telling me about is doing what makes you happy in life. Reaching out and grabbing your “dreams”.
Mommy Amparo, today, I’ve traveled far and wander wide – traversing the Philippines you told me about as a small boy. I’ve visited the most historic and picturesque cities and provinces of this beautiful country of ours. I’ve been to Cebu where Magellan met his end. Leyte, where MacArthur made true his promises. Negros, where the vast sugar farms are. Iloilo, where your mother Maria came from. Samar where there seem to be so many poor farmers. Siquijor where you said there were asuangs! Mindanao where vast lands are unused. Corregidor, the last place to fall to the Japanese – and all the wonderful places that at one time another you mentioned then. I’ll never be interested in them if it were not for those incredible stories of yours. I’ll continue traveling more and I don’t think I’ll stop anytime soon because this is one of my passion. Rediscovering our beautiful past through my wanderings around this lovely country of ours and writing about it – this was the “dream” you were talking about.
I’ve fallen in love with books too, and that’s because you influenced me to like them. Could you imagine a kid from Calle Bagtican becoming a bibliophile! I remember bringing home those books that you lend me, the one with the ink mark “Casado-Keyser library”. I think I didn’t returned some of them but I’m sure you don’t mind.
I always tell people that two of the biggest influence in my life growing up is you and my brother Sam. Having a parent or a sibling influence you is pretty normal but a neighbor? I think that’s rare. But how can I not be influenced by someone so wise, so wonderful, so caring? I never had a living grandparent, I know their names but I never knew them. They were all dead by the time I started looking for them. And this is where you came into my life. There’s just so much you gave me. I don’t know if you’re even aware of how you change my life. There’s just so many wonderful memories Mommy. I’m so happy that I had the chance to see you when you were still around because I had the oppurtunity to tell you “I love you” and “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me”. I don’t think I ever said those words to you when you took me in as a step grandchild. Let me repeat those words again today Mommy Amparo – “I love you and thank you for all the wonderful times you spent with me”.
17 July 2011