Kinship is in the Heart!

Today we laid to rest Jean and Tisha’s paternal grandmother.  Lola Rading was 93.  She died of throat cancer, the one that gradually blocks the passage for food and breathing.

Two months ago though, when we first visited her after a decade of no communication, she can still cry and smile and listen to the gossips and laughter that we uninhibitedly shared despite the awkward initial hellos. And Lola Rading, uncomplaining in spite of her discomfort, urged us to eat together and participate in what she knows as sharing of the heart.  One lesson I learned from her early on, no matter how angry one family is with another, serve the food.  Eventually, when cooler heads prevail, everything will be all right.  But nothing can be gained from an empty stomach.  And so, that day, she even made an effort to stand and walk and be present at the dinner table.

But today, we had to say our final good-bye to her. Tish couldn’t make it for the interment because of a long exam.  But Jean talked with her cousins, her aunties and uncles, and with those who loved her grandmother. A few tears can’t be helped, for how can one not cry for a matriarch who knew nothing else but love her brood. And her son Aldwin spelled it out in halting sobs…Mommy said she loves us all!  quoting verbatim Mahal ko kayong lahat!  That was why she never left her home far enough and long enough, for a mother’s place is in the home where one of children or grandchildren may come and need her help.  Lola Rading cooked food, sewed clothes, played mahjong and poker with her children, talked with them, and prayed her best to keep her family safe and sound.

Well, life has its ills and even family either knowingly or unknowingly begrudge each other. Sometimes, problems can be solved after sipping a hot bowl of corn soup.  But others seem to take root and pierce the heart of a mother.

But that is all up and done with now. Barney is moving on to his final year of sacred theology. What greater blessing can a mother have than to have a grandchild become a priest. Amy and Jay are now down under in Australia.  But they had received the photos of how immaculately beautiful the final services had been given to their Lola.  Ed and Rica saw to it that everything was right and perfect. Lola Rading deserved nothing less. Glen and Belen had shifted for the 24/7 nursing care, and all the others had been folding napkins, at Lola’s beck and call.

But to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Lola Rading’s time ticked the final tock. And her family surrounded her with white flowers, orchids and mumps, befitting a mother deeply loved.

Ooooops! In case Emma gets to read this.  She is the erstwhile entertainer. Nell is the tearjerker, and Sammy the quiet supporter.  GJ, what do you think?  Marami pang left out like Edith managing the gremlins and yet remembering to bring flowers to Lola after mass…

Emma will write  her memoirs…  For now, kinship is in the heart, and my daughter Jean is already happy with that. Di ba, Lola?

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