I met her when Ella and I were still dating about five years back. She was an adorable person. She was my friend. She was Ella's grandma.
I would always hear her usual greeting "Hi, Jay!" whenever she sees me especially when I pick Ella at mid-morning for a date. In a way, I have always enjoyed in the company of grandmas and that makes me feel normal all the time. I just like to talk to them and listen to their life stories and laugh. Feel like I'm still a kid listening to Lola Basyang's stories in the afternoon.
One time, I made her a bracelet out of swarovski (not sure of the spelling) jewels that Ella and I bought at Divisoria. I asked her not to lose it. The days following, I would always see her wearing it especially when she goes to church. I knew she cherished the simple gift that I gave her... and that alone makes me feel so good. Seldom that I see people cherish the simple tokens that I share... and I found it in lola Jovita.
Months ago, my mother-in-law told me that lola lost the bracelet when she alighted from the jeep in Bicol. I was told that she was saddened and kept on asking her son to find it because it was from me...
All the while I thought of giving her one... I never had the chance.
She left for Bicol about four years ago and I never saw her until three weeks ago in her hospital bed. She was in pain. She can't move her left arm. She can barely open her eyes. But she tried to be responsive whenever someone pays a visit. It was so heart wrenching. And I saw Ella for the first time so hurt and broken that she cried and cried.
She never saw me since and the feeling of guilt pains me in a way that I didn't take the opportunity to see her when she was still awake. I only thought of wanting to take rest after a long day trip. I should have paid her a visit. I would have been at peace.
She never saw me since. I never heard her usual greeting to me again.
Yesterday at 4am, Lola Jovita left.
She was 85.
Salamat lola. Paalam.