I have an odd way of showing love. I love people not just with my heart but with my mind. And I have to remind myself to show it but it doesn’t come all too naturally. All I know is when I love someone, I feel warm inside and that warmth is committed to memory. And so when I think of that person, I choke up inside. This is how I feel about my maternal grandfather who we lovingly called Papa.
On this day 7 years ago, Papa passed away and the thought of him still makes me feel warm and teary-eyed. He was tall, slender, and impeccably groomed. He proudly kept all his hair which remained black until his 70s. But for all his handsome tisoy features, his greatest asset was his charm. It was made in the movies. Think Warren Beatty, Cary Grant, and Erap all rolled in one. No matter what nationality, age or gender, Papa could pull a smile out of anyone.
When I close my eyes I see him driving us around LA during our annual summer breaks. He had a very simple but active life that entailed picking up the dry cleaning (It’s just 1 dollar each! Bakit ba ako maghihihirap sa washing machine?), shopping for groceries (Sale kasi), and going to the doctor (Libre lahat! Ibang klase mag senior citizen sa States!). And he always told us grandkids the same thing:
You know. Your mommy… she used her head when she got married.
He never expounded. The only variety was in the way he emphasized “used her head” which was accompanied with a nod of his head, a finger pointing to his head or his hand slapping the table. I wish he made it to my wedding. I wish he met Little Libra. I’d love to hear his opinion.
I love seeing Little Libra’s relationship with her grandparents blossom. Their bond is palpable, kind of like childhood best friends who exchange secret handshakes and knowing looks. Nothing can ever break them. She lights up whenever she has a “playdate” with any of them. She knows that she can do the forbidden: eat all the chips and candy, watch all the TV, and buy all the tokens to ride the carousel. It’s her delicious escape from Mommy’s rules.
I want Little Libra to remember her grandparents just as fondly as I remember Papa. In my book, a sign of greatness is to be missed to tears by the people you once loved, even after all the time that has passed.
My Papa was and always will be GREAT.