Monday, 12 November 2012

LOLO LEANDRO AND HIS CHUBBY TROPHY

Lolo was my first audience. He loved to take care of bouncing little Tin. He'd always request his only apo (that time) to sing for him. Always the family's doll, I'll gladly succumb to his plea with his favorite song, which I sang in wholehearted emotion. Here goes:

Somewhere out there,Beneath the pale moonlight,
 Someone's thinking of me,
 And loving me tonight..

At this point, the veins on my throat are visible, hands grasped around my toy microphone, eyes closed tightly, and my toes, they are in tiptoe position. Then... Lolo will clap and shout: "Ang galing talaga ng apo ko! Pang Little Miss Philippines!" Fully convinced of his delight, I bow and say "Thank you! Thank you!"

When mom got back home from her 2 year-out-of-the country work, I moved out from Lolo and Lola's home, but their love for me never faded. I recall that I get whatever I want in just one puppy eye look at Lolo. Hesitantly, I am daring to admit that I am a spoiled unica hija slash apo in the family.

Barbie doll (with complete parlor set). Bazooka Gum. Choco Nut. Cloud 9. 
Cherry Ball. Bike. Nintendo. Lavish allowances. All granted.


Being a kid, whenever dad scolds me, Lolo came to my rescue and from a dad to Tin belt-whiplash scare, upon Lolo's presence - it now became Lolo to dad's sermon session. Bad. I know.

He's always been my #1 fan. He always admire how soft my hands are and how fair my skin is. That I got a healthy supply of hair all over and how I make him smile due to my funny remarks.

I never thought I'm good at Math but he declares I am. Until there came a point that I reckoned: "If lolo and daddy believes I'm good academically, what makes me think I'm not?" With God's grace and their cheer leading efforts, I walked down the graduation aisle with academic honors. Guess who's there to boisterously clap for me?

After passing the certified public accountant board exam, I landed at my first job in SGV. As soon as he heard the news, Lolo never got tired of showcasing his apo on every family reunion. Overly shy and afraid that some might think Lolo is boastful, I shun the thought each time Lolo smiled and quipped, "Yes. I am a proud Lolo!"

Years passed and Lolo (with other members of the clan) moved somewhere North. Our family moved South. Dad bought a house somewhere south year of 1997. We still bond but the get together were now limited on some special occasions due to distance constraint. We still see to it that Lolo got hold of his chubby trophy every now and then.

Lolo got weaker due to a sickness. January 1, 2012 (while the world sleeps soundly), our family rushed to the hospital because Lolo was confined. We've been told that Lolo needs to undergo a dialysis. I'm not a doctor, but I've been showered with remarks that dialysis treatment is a painful and exhausting one. My heart was ripped to see Lolo undergo such a treatment but with this as his only lifeline, we don't have much of a choice.

Jay, Lolo Leandro and Tin

February 27, 2012 was Lolo's birthday. We came to celeberate his birthday. Always the kikay apo, I donned a LBD (little black dress) and a Fuschia shawl. You'll probably thought it's one of those 'dates'. Oh yes it is! Only difference is I know my date loves me so much with no ifs and buts!

I hugged Lolo tight. That instant, I felt that Lolo is tired of all the treatments and he's just doing it so his apo (and all the family) won't be sad to see his torment. I vividly call to my mind some few clips.

On Giving to the Lord.
Lolo: Lagi kang magbibigay ng tithes and offering apo.
Tin: Opo Lolo.
Lolo: Hindi ka pagkukulangin pag binigay mo ang para sa Kanya (referring to God).

On Daddy.
Lolo: Mahalin mo ang daddy mo. Makulit yan...
Tin: (in rebuttal) In fairness lagi na lang akong inaasar ni daddy at Jay.
Lolo: (laughing) Mahal ka nun. Ganun lang yun talaga.

On Travel Safety.
Lolo: Kapag umaalis ka ng bansa, mag-ingat ka apo. Lumayo ka sa masamang impluwensya.
Magdarasal ka lagi.
Tin: Opo Lolo. Sama ka sa kin minsan ha.
Lolo: Matanda na ang lolo.
Tin: Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda lo.

On ahem. Love life.
Lolo: Apo, may bata' (his term for boyfriend) ka ba ngayon?
Tin: (gulped) Naku wala po. Bukas lolo, bili mo ko. Yung pogi! (in an attempt to make him laugh)
Lolo: (laughing) Pipili ka ng mabait at may takot sa Diyos. Yung hindi ka sasaktan at marunong sa buhay.
Tin: Opo Lolo.

On His Thankfulness.
Lolo: Apo salamat sa lahat ng  binigay mo sa Lolo ha.
Tin: Wala po yun Lolo (hugged him tightly).
At this point, if I utter another word out, tears will just flow so I settled in hugs and held Lolo's hands and whispered... Love kita Lolo.

That was our last one-on-one conversation. Last Wednesday (7th of November, 2012), exactly 49 days before Christmas, we rushed at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and I, full of tears, whispered my last thank you to Lolo in the hope that he heard me.

Hours ago as of this writing (in my journal),
I exhorted a small message beside Lolo Leandro. 
Only thing is he's inside a white metal casket. 
With a huge lump on my throat and eyes half-swollen, 
I cleared my facial expression and read Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

"Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
time for planting and the time for pulling up,
time for sorrow and the time for joy,
time for mourning and the time for dancing..." (Excerpt from Ecclesiastes)

"Our friends we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him. Let us encourage one another with these words." (Excerpt from 1 Thessalonians)

As they lower Lolo's body with the coffin, a piece of me was buried with him.
The pain is so real that I feel its tangible for me to touch.
This was my most sorrowful talk ever.
Sharing God's word in tears and between sobs - I know that JESUS was made known to people surrounding Lolo's body at Himlayang Pilipino.

On a lighter note, I believe Lolo is in a happier place now. Having spent 83 years on earth, I somehow surrendered to the fact that it is time for him to go and meet again his one great love, Lola Lydia. Lolo taught the family to put JESUS first, to love and to be responsible for our decisions. He demonstrated that we must love until it hurts (if necessary), to hold no grudge against someone and to show God's grace every moment.

To you Lolo Leandro, I'll always sing:

Somewhere out there,
 
Beneath the pale moonlight,
 Someone's thinking of me,
 And loving me tonight..

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star,
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby,
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky!

That song will be forever remembered by me with Lolo Leandro on my mind. 

This may look like a sad ending unlike the ones we usually adore - 
a Cinderella type of story. 
However, with JESUS CHRIST and God's saving grace, 
I'm fully convinced that this is where this phrase come to life:

And Lolo lived happily (with the LORD) ever after.

When its our turn to face our Creator, may we say those phrase too.
May you find some few minutes 
to receive JESUS CHRIST as your personal Lord and savior. 
It's something that is eternal, and my friend, God's amazing grace is free.

With hiccups and sobs, I closed the speech. 
With eyes now fully swollen and tears running down my cheeks I muttered: 
"Rest ka na Lolo. I love you po!"

Your chubby trophy,
Kristine

PS: Lolo, I'm working on the chubby adjective.
Hoping in time it would be sexy trophy. Hehe! :)
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