30 January 2011

the 30th

In a couple of days, it will already be a new month, the second of the year. But each time the first month of the year ends, I remember one person who has gone from my life -- my Lola.

I grew up with her, my paternal grandmother, my father's mother. My father was her first child and being my father's first child, I was her first grandchild, her apo. I remember her when January ends because her birthday falls on January 30th, if I still remember it right. I am bad with birth dates sometimes, or sometimes my mind just automatically deletes certain information connected with bad or sad experiences that I need a "full memory scan" to retrieve them sometimes.

I remembered her suddenly because of some strange connection with some conversations I had with friends yesterday. We were talking about how I could have been a Canadian by now, a Fil-Canadian to be exact, had I chosen that path back in late 1990s when my father was encouraging me to enroll in an animation school in Toronto right after I graduated from my film degree course here in Manila, about two years when I was at the exciting beginning of my mainstream media career, specifically in the film industry. A thought that played in my head then was the fact that I could have pursued more in-depth my love-slash-frustration of wanting to go into animation, the reason why I enrolled at the College of Fine Arts in UP in the first place, and also why I shifted to the College of Mass Communication after 2.5 sems to finish a degree in filmmaking instead. The second thought was being in another country where some of my dearly beloved relatives have chosen to immigrate, with them was my Lola.

But that would have produced a different me, a different perspective, a different person altogether, I think. This blog would not exist at all, perhaps, and I would not even be Leaflens had I pursued that other path. It would be interesting to travel back in time like what Marty McFly did and discover an "alternative 1997" for me, the same way he discovered an alternative 1985 when he went back to the future and back to his present. Yes, I love that movie, but I digress.

What would have been me had I chosen that path? I don't know. But what I know now is, one reason why I was never enticed to visit my relatives in Ontario, even if they have been, for more than a decade now, urging and urging and urging me to visit them-slash-work there-slash-settle down there for good for is the fact that I don't think I was ready to visit my Lola's grave yet. She died in the early 2000s, sometime near her birth date as well, and even death dates I have a hard time remembering sometimes, for obvious reasons.

I remember hearing the news from my Mom, and receiving it while I was rushing a freelance writing deadline for a government agency (that never paid me for it, the fuckers). At that time, I was also trying to begin a relationship with a woman who was having her own tumultuous times with another woman, and everything was just so heavy that some superfriends had to come in and "rescue me," even temporarily, with rather "unconventional" methods. I heart my superfriends. And I miss them so dearly now, having given up their own stake in this land of our birth to become hyphenated Filipinos (i.e. Fil-[insert other nationality here]) in their own right.

About half a decade after her death, my parents and I were talking one time and I threw in the sentiment that I wanted to fly there in Ontario for my Lola's funeral back then. And to my surprise, my father said I should have vocalized that then, because he would have been willing to fly me there for that purpose, on behalf of all of us, I guess. But even now, about a decade after her death, I don't think I'm still ready to visit her grave. Or maybe I am, since I was able to fortify my defenses already about this over the years (I hope). Maybe.

Well, this is just a curiosity playing in my mind. I might be flying to Canada for another inevitable ending of the same nature, but I hope that doesn't come soon.

This is the only photo I have with my Lola here in my place.
Old photos are in the domain of my Mom back in their house.
If the date on the photo is correct, this would have been
a 15-year old me in my parents' house with my
cousin Anna and my Lola back in 1989.

I just remembered all of this and decided to share it here since, if I do remember it right, today is my Lola's birthday. I dreamed about her a few weeks ago, maybe to remind me to remember her. But the thing is, I never really forgot. But I don't want to remember it as well, since it's really hard to forget. Trust me, this is logical to me. I know it's confusing to you. Well, that's how I am sometimes. Illogically logical, or logically illogical.

There are quite a few things in life you never forget. But there are also a lot you don't want to remember. Thinking and feeling are concepts hard to balance sometimes, eh?

Regardless. Happy birthday, Lola.


  1. =) thank you for sharing this- your ability to reflect on the loss of someone you love gives me strength and encouragement to do the same.. and yes, thinking and feeling are hard concept to balance- always, i think ;) but this could just be me.... =)

  2. no, it's always hard to balance for anyone, i think. those who say they could balance it are great pretenders. at least we're honest about it. like brutaly honest :)

    reflections like these help in taking steps towards establishing/attaining that balance, i think. i highly encourage it. :)

    and thanks for reading and commenting :)

  3. Ah basta alam ko yang unconventional methods na yan! Pati ang beginning ng relasyong pinagsasabi mo dyan...I miss you mother! I'm glad I was there for all of that. Good times, good times!

  4. good times indeed. miss you much as well!