Gone, But Still Here

People say that when a person you’ve known is gone, that’s the only time you realize how important and how much worth that person was to you.

And it’s true. For me, that person was my grandmother.

I miss her.

It’s been more than five years since she died and I still miss her.

She was a great person. Of course, she wasn’t perfect, but she was one of the people I trusted and loved the most.

My brother and I called her Lola, and she called us apok, which was her shortcut for apo ko. I remember all the times we’ve spent together. She always had the time for us―time to help us in our homework, if ever, and time to play games with us. Even though she wasn’t in good health, she did her best to make sure we had fun.

I loved her so much. There was no doubt about that. I sometimes got irritated at her for some specific reasons, but at the end of the day, I always made up for hurting her feelings. I know I wasn’t much of a good granddaughter to her because of my past insensitivity and being easily irritated, but I tried and did what I could to be the granddaughter that she deserved.

What hurt me the most about my relationship with my lola, though, was the fact that I never got to say goodbye to her before she died.

Of course, none of us knew that she was going to die on the night she did. We were all worried about her. I was scared. Terrified. I was not ready to accept that she was going to die then; I wasn’t ready to accept that it was her time. I cried that night when we brought her to the hospital, not knowing if that was the last time I saw her alive. My brother was just five years old and he didn’t really understand what was happening back then, but I knew. I knew―even when I tried to deny it―that we would never see her again. I didn’t tell my brother. I couldn’t.

My parents knew that she was going to die. They knew, so that night they asked a close friend of theirs if my brother and I could stay with them for the night while they stayed with lola in the hospital. And so my brother and I stayed at their house. And I cried myself to sleep.

The following day, we were brought back to the hospital. And she was gone.

If I remember correctly, it took a long time for us to get over her death. My mother was depressed. My father and brother remained silent during that time. And as for me, I couldn’t stop crying and grieving, even when I was at school. It was a difficult time for all of us.

But as they say, life goes on. And now here I am, more than five years later, writing about her and about what has come to pass.

I still miss her. I don’t think I will ever stop missing her.

She was one in a million. She was my favorite grandparent, and like I said, I loved her―so, so much.

She’s gone. She’s been gone for a long time. But I still think about her sometimes, and I know that the pain will always be inside me, the pain and memories of her will always be embedded in me.

She’s gone, but still here.


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