It was one of those late evenings when you had long conversations with your fellow elders from the neighbourhood. Seated next to you, I lay my head on your lap. The gentle caress of your hands on my head was always a solace. It was my lullaby.
At times, those hands were unforgiving; when I disobeyed your rules on no mid-afternoon swim in the nearby river or late-evening games on the main road with my childhood friends. I was an explorer; you set the borderline.
Every end of the school year, from grade one to grade five, you championed my achievements. You accompanied me on the stage to receive the first honours award. But when I finished grade six, you chose to recognise my mom and gave her pride. I delivered my valedictory speech while you were in the audience, she was on my side.
High school came, I commuted thirty kilometres every day, from home to school. You waited early in the morning until I left, and in the afternoon, or sometimes evening, until I returned.
And when I bid farewell to study in Manila for my university education and to live with my mom, you waited. You waited until I left.
Time passed, and every time I came home, you welcomed me with your beautiful smiles. They were abundant and pure. Sometimes there were tears of joy from both of us, as I took your hand, gently put it on my forehead and paid you respect.
And yesterday, just like the old times, you waited. You waited until I returned.
As I held your hands for the last time, I thanked you for taking care of me, for teaching me the purpose of discipline, for encouraging me to do my best, and for fostering the child, the teenager that I was, who has become the person that I am.
I left. You waited. Few hours after, you left.
Mang Edad, my grandmother, passed away peacefully at the age of 86. She was loved by us, by many.
A tribute to my lola, and to all lola out there.