Dear Lola Babes and the Value of a Smile

Lola Babes is my mother’s mother. She passed away around the middle of October. It broke the many hearts of the people who loved her. Knowing that Lola Babes died peacefully in her sleep lifts our spirits somehow. Hanggang sa dulo ng buhay niya, ayaw niyang mahirapan yung mga taong nagmamahal sa kanya.

Lola Babes worked as a teacher and then she became a principal. According to our older cousins and to some of her students and co-workers, Lola Babes was very strict. As her apo, I never really experienced that side of her. She was very loving to us. She would always have warm hugs and sweet kisses for whenever she sees us. She was always smiling when asking about our lives. Itatanong niya kung anong mga plans namin or goals o kaya kung ano yung tingin niyang ginagawa namin ngayon tapos parating magtatapos sa “I will pray for you.” or “You’re always in my prayers.” She was our family’s prayer warrior.

She died at 84. Siyempre, wala pa yatang 1/4 ng buhay niya yung alam ko. I know about the kind of mother she was, the kind of wife (makes me sad kasi naalala ko si Lolo Art) and the kind of grandmother she was. So I made sure to listen to those who spoke during the services. Habang nakikinig ako, it seemed like they were talking about a different person. Nag-make sense sa akin kung bakit strict ang tingin nila kay Lola Babes at kung bakit sobra niyang particular sa mga pangarap namin sa buhay. Sobrang power woman ni Lola Babes! She knows what she wants and she makes sure she’ll get what she wants! Pero hindi siya yung type na manglalamang. She always dis what’s right. Kaya kapag dinaya mo siya or kapag nahuli niya na may ginawa kang mali, makakarinig ka talaga.

After hearing all the stories about her, I realized how much she lived a full life. And to be honest, na-inggit ako at napatingin ako sa sariling buhay ko. I’m approaching my late twenties and hindi parin klaro sa akin kung ano yung gusto kong life for me. (This should be in a different entry but it’s somehow related so…) Nung nasa edad kp si Lola Babes, nakapag-settle down na yata siya. May family na siya yet she was still working as an educator. She may not have traveled the world… I’m sure hindi rin siya gumimik or bumarkada the way we do (or I did before) now… but I know that she lived a full life. And it’s all because she knew what she wanted. She did everything to work toward that goal.

I once read a book by Sophie Kinsella, Twenties Girl, where the heroine met the ghost of her grandmother and they formed a friendship. Parang gusto ko rin yun mangyari sa akin tapos kukuha ako ng tips sa Lola ko on how she did it! Yung napagsabay niya at naging successful siya sa family life and career life. But then, I realized that whatever it is that I need to learn from her, eh nakuha ko na. Madami akong natutuhan sa kanya but I think the one that I value the most and yung feeling ko na sa kanya ko talaga natutunan… is to always smile. Smile, not only to those you know but also to those you don’t know. Smile, not only in good times but also during the worst of times. Smile, not only when you’re happy but all the more when you’re hurting. You’ll realize that when you do, smile, you’ll see that the world is not that bad after all. When I’m angry or hurting, I stop and smile then all of a sudden, good things come to my mind. Try niyo lang. Nakaka-stress lang minsan kapag nag-smile ka sa isang tao tapos biglang nag-simangot sa’yo diba? Dedma nalang. I’m sure mapapangiti yun kapag na-realize niya yung ginawa niya.

May mga panahon lang talaga na mahirap ngumiti. Watching my Lolo Arts say goodbye to my Lola Babes is one of the times that I couldn’t force myself to smile. Hindi nga siya nagpapaalam eh, kasi gusto daw niyang sumama. Siyempre lahat kami napasigaw ng “Hindi!” Ayun, may mga napangiti na rin. I know that it will be difficult for my Lolo Arts kasi sobra nilang inseparable ni Lola Babes. But just like his wife, Lolo Arts is a very positive spirit. He will smile knowing that Lola Babes is watching over us.

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My beautiful grandparents who were in love for almost 60 years. ❤

With love and a smiling heart, K

*Here’s my father’s post related to this story. He’s the better writer at mas mature ang insights niya about love and loss.

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