September 1, 2016 I apparently woke up earlier than my alarm, I did my usual morning routine, I even did my make up that day, forgetting to apply mascara. It was a good thing tho, because the moment I stepped back inside my room, I checked my phone notifications and one notification stood out among the rest. It was a viber message from my dad, I've only seen the part which read "mamang passed" those two words, those two words just made my knees weak, I had to sit down on my bed as tears started to trickle down my face. I curled over to the nearest corner I could find, and it felt like I just shut down and broke into tears. At first I didn't want to believe that mamang was gone, so I reopened my phone, opened the viber message and kept on re reading what was said. I didn't want it to be real, no one does, so I went ahead and called my cousins, to truly confirm if its true, if the woman who we looked up to as kids, the woman who made the best adobo you could ever eat, the woman who fought Alzheimer's for 18 years, the woman who was nothing but graceful, kind, loving and caring, was really gone.  It's hard to lose someone very dear to you, someone who made every summer and every Christmas memorable, someone who puts her apo's and anak's (grandchildren and children) needs before hers, someone, someone we all knew as mamang.

 

Upon hearing the news, my initial thought was that I should go to the province with my mom, to visit and help with everything and act as a support system. I was willing to cut classes because I knew how hard it would be for my mom, how hard it would be to lose your mother. I just felt like I had to be there, I had to hug her and comfort her. But then as my dad said, my grandma was a teacher, and she wouldn't like students cutting classes, so I said okay, lets go on the weekend then, "kasi baka mamaya si mamang puntahan ako tas paluin ako kasi di ako pumasok"(because later on mamang would visit me just to slap me because I cut school) . So the day she died I went to school, I wasn't at my best though, I tried to be alright, but I just could not, tears just started to fall down whenever my cousins would say something or post something. Come Friday, again I thought I would be okay, but then I saw the video of my grandpa visiting my grandma's body, trying to be strong for his children and trying to hold back the tears. It was very heavy to watch and is very heart breaking. 

 

Saturday came, we went to Pangasinan, met with our other cousins, other relatives we never met ever. Upon arriving to the house, one of my cousins and I immediately went to go see our late grandmother, she was there lying down so peacefully and she seemed happy. After visiting her memorial, we went to her room, the same room where she passed, walking around the room, you would still feel her presence, you could feel her trying to comfort you, as though she wants to tell you everything is alright apo, everything is alright. Every time I would go back inside her room, the same phrase she told me every 10 mins when she was still alive kept replaying on my head "Hannah, antaba taba mo na"(Hannah, you're very fat already)  though it's not a compliment, it's something we laugh about, and it's sometimes I just wished I could hear from her for just one last time. 

 

Saturday night, we apo's had a program, we started with a novena prayer for mamang, followed by an audio visual presentation of the life mamang lived, and videos of mamang's last few days when she was still in the hospital. It was a cryfest, all of us grandchildren and her children all broke down to tears, because it made it more real. We then proceeded from the oldest apo to the youngest to say our fondest memory of mamang. The fondest memory I had of mamang was her telling my I was fat repetitively due to her Alzheimer, another was that, she would always ask If I was hungry when I was little and give me the whole line of original nagaraya, she would always have nagaraya in stock in her cabinet and she would always give me nagaraya. Another memory I had of her was back when I was still playing volleyball, she was so proud that I was playing volleyball and gained awards, that every time we would go home to Pangasinan she would always ask  "oh kelan na kita mapapanuod sa tv" (when would I be able to watch you on television?). It actually just struck me now, that she remembered I was a volleyball player, she remembered that even after many years have passed on which I hadn't played she would ask me "antangkad tangkad mong babae siguro volleyball player ka noh" (wow you're very tall, maybe you're a volleyball player). She always said volleyball and never basketball, it's just sinking in now that even if mamang was very forgetful, she remembers the achievements I have had, she remembered that I played volleyball. Mamang definitely was the best grandma we could ever ask for.

To cap off the sharing by the apos, her sister, told us some very important and deep words, that when mamang was in the ICU she mentioned that on September 6, she would go somewhere and she wouldn't be seeing lola Perla for a very long time. A couple of times before mamang has already mentioned September 6. Mamang was supposed to be buried on September 4, but then it was moved to September 6, maybe mamang knew? Maybe mamang  knew all this time, that September 6 would be a date to be given importance to. 

 

On September 1, 2016 we lost mamang to Leukemia. Our grandma who's favorite song was paper roses, our grandma who loved us oh so dearly, our grandma, our dear grandma, you will always be loved and remembered, your memories would live on. Thank you for everything, because without you, we wouldn't be here. Thank you for sharing with us your talent for music, thank you Mamang, Thank you. Mamang, you are in a better place now, sobrang goals yung life that you lived, pakibantayan nalang po kami from heaven we love you forever and always. (The live that you lived was ultimate goals, please wach over us from heaven, we love you forever and always)

Published by Hannah Gomez