Missing Lolong

August 15, 2007

I lost my paternal grandfather the other day.

I was able to visit him on my way back from Makati. I wanted to cry when I saw him at Lorma Hospital in San Fernando. He was so thin and appeared so weak. I refuse to remember Lolong that way. To me, he will always be the tall, dark, handsome man who raised eight children through his labors as fisherman and as farmer.

I miss you so much, Lolong. Both grief and guilt are keeping me company tonight. I am sorry I have not been around you as much as I would have wanted to. Papang told me that you were always looking for your Marilen whenever he visited you. I will not offer any excuse Lolong, for none would really be compelling enough.

It is ironic how we wander far to pursue dreams in the false assumption that our small triumphs matter to the people we love. All too often, it is too late when we realize that no success will ever give back moments that should’ve been spent with them. No degree or title will ever bring back the chance to kiss our grandparents’ hands or to tell them how much we love them.

Perhaps I have to blame you, and Papang, and my uncles, brothers and cousins for my restless heart. You have set the bar high for that one man. No regrets. I will not settle for anyone not in your league.

Rest now and goodnight, Lolong. Not goodbye. There are no goodbyes for the people we love.


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