Life lately is about long nights, sleeping less and uncomfortably, waiting, and being out of the daily grind. A lot of it is about remembering–talking about my grandmother, reminiscing family stories, and taking time to support and be around each other.
It has been ten days since my grandmother passed away and life lately is centered on her death and her wake.
Nanay, as everyone in the house calls her, is a hardy woman, but on the afternoon of October 29, she was brought down by fever.
Well, for the past two years she also battled rheumatism, incontinence, and dementia, so when an infection we couldn’t exactly pinpoint was added to the mix, her body simply did not fight back.
It was sudden in the sense that she was doing her usual routine of walking around the compound, attempting to go out of the gates, looking around for food even after she had just finished eating, and fighting with her caretaker because of her refusal to bathe.
Part of us saw it coming. A few months back, when my father gained access to some money, he mentioned allotting a part for when Nanay suddenly dies. Two days before her death, when I painstakingly helped her up to a sitting position and fed her dinner, I was honestly afraid I will no longer find her breathing the following morning. That night, as I worried about how she seemed to be slipping in and out of consciousness, I prayed for her, though I didn’t exactly know what to pray for. Should I ask God to extend her life even when she’s alone most of the time, has no sense of purpose, and is often shunned away by her favorite child? A prayer to grant her peace and let God’s will take over seemed to make more sense.
She got a bit better the following day, so I decided to push through with my plans to travel to Manila. That morning of the Saturday she died, my siblings and I were in a flurry texting and calling each other about her condition. She was rushed to the hospital, but only a few minutes after they arrived, she was already unresponsive.
Incidentally, my aunt and her family were also about to go home for the extended All Saints’ Day break. We all went home together.
Yesterday, a close friend and I quickly met up for coffee, and one of our conversations briefly touched on the circle of life. She had just gotten married, I had just gotten pregnant, and the next points in our timelines will be about raising children, keeping homes, building a life, and then inevitably, growing old, and gradually being insignificant. Dark thoughts, but real.
But maybe it isn’t so bad. I think about Nanay’s life, and all the things she accomplished. She built a business from selling religious articles, bought properties for her children, secured bank accounts for her grandchildren, and traveled to her dream destinations.
Life lately is surrounded by death, but we’re not enveloped in sadness. We acknowledge that Nanay made her exit as peacefully as possible. She lived a full life, and we are lucky with the legacy she left.
Taken on her 80th birthday three years ago–her last lucid one, I think.
Death may be around us, and it will someday come for us all, but lately, there is life inside me. Every pound, kick, and turn lets me know that a tiny human is alive with growth and energy. Every move reminds me that life is not always easy, but it sure will be worth it.