Forty Days

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Forty days ago, in between the deaths of Dolphy and Jesse Robredo, my grandmother passed away after a month in the hospital. Her death didn’t flood the facebook and twitter feeds of the world. After all, she didn’t land on the moon or was a comedy queen. A hundred years from now, nobody will remember that she even lived or died.

I wasn’t beside her when it happened. The call came at around 6am. But prior to that texts were sent and delayed because of Globe’s network problems. I drove to the hospital with my family. I wish I had driven a bit faster, although I don’t know if that would have made a difference. She was already dead when we arrived.

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During the wake, many of my father’s, my mother’s and my sister’s friends came. Only one friend of mine visited. Which makes me wonder what the turnout will be when I die.

I’ve been thinking of death and sickness a lot lately. My family is no stranger to cancer. My mother is a cancer survivor and so is her sister. I’ve had relatives die of a car accident and murder. One of my most vivid memories is my uncle’s blood being hosed out of a mattress.

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But despite this, my grandmother was the closest person I’ve ever lost. She practically raised me since my mother and father both held jobs.

I still think of her. Although she had other grandchildren, I was her first and the one she took care of the longest. My cousins are too young to hold many memories of her while I have years and years worth of stories. Sometimes I feel I’m the only one keeping these stories alive. When I die, they will be gone as well.

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Strangely enough, my memories of my grandmother have found their way into my work. Through the years, grandmother-type characters and images have been popping in out of my drawings, paintings and stories.

During my college days, I made a website about Philippine Folk Medicine with my grandmother as the “avatar” of the site. She had  a penchant for foisting all sorts of folk remedies on me. Actually, I even made an essay about it in my Creative Writing Class.

For my thesis, I made a comic story that used fragments of memories and stories she told and wove it into a little sequential mood piece. I entered it into the 1st Neil Gaiman-Fully Booked Competition and won 3rd place.

In the eulogy I gave during her interment, I told even more stories about her. Through my art, I think I will keep telling stories about her for a very long time.

Who knows, maybe a hundred years somebody, somewhere will still remember.

One comment

  1. 3 months too late but my condolences to you and the family, rommel. may your grandmother continue to live in your works and may your works continue to bless others. cheers!

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