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.
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.
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.
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.