So my grandmother passed peacefully in her sleep two days ago. Had my husband and I gone, I wouldn’t have been able to shower her with hugs and kisses.
She’s the woman standing in the picture, her arm around my waist. My grandfather was holding my hand. And finally, my aunt and uncles. This picture was taken circa 1971 – 1972.
Anyway, I don’t know how I feel about this: I felt so much relief at my family’s support of my mental health, and now, I don’t know, she’s gone. Just gone.
She’s the woman who raised me for at least 6 months when I was 2 years old, after my mom left for the US. And for another 6 months (at least) when I was 4. Six months after my mom left, my dad followed suit. I remember going through photo albums and becoming jealous of any picture that contained my parents without me.
But Mama was there. Mama fed, washed, and clothed me as if I were her own. This, in addition to having one son either in school or working, another in the U.S., a daughter in medical school, and a third son either finishing up high school, or starting college. Who knows? In some part of my 2-yo brain, maybe I considered her my own mother. Maybe I still do.
As I began writing this post I was overcome with emotion, which bubbled up from nowhere. I never cried like this for my real mother — I haven’t cried at all for her. But I’m discovering that my grandmother maybe, just maybe, is my mother, too.
Rest in Peace, Mama
NOTE: “Chic” is my Filipino nickname among my family.