This grand lady is my Nanay. She is my paternal grandmother and she is 98 years old. She disagrees, however. “I am 99.” She claims. “I have a cedula* to prove it.”
She is in pretty good health. For a 98 or 99 year old, that is. She walks slowly, is hard of hearing and has a poor vision.
“Nanay, we are here!”
“Who are you?”
“Med and John and our children.”
“Med, your beautiful granddaughter!” (There are exclamation marks because we are speaking at the top of our voice so that she could hear us.)
“Ah, Med!” She said smiling. I told you, she can barely hear. Otherwise, she would have replied “Uris-uris!”** as she used to say whenever I teased her.
She was happy and chatty during this visit. She even offered us refreshments.
The next one was a different story.
She was lying on her bed, just waking up. “Who are you?” she asked me and my cousin, Sonia, her niece. When she finally remembered who we were, she turned to Ate Sonia and asked – “Where is your mother?”
Ate Sonia and I looked at each other before she replied – “She is at home, Auntie.”
We did not dare tell her that my cousin’s mother, sister-in-law to my Nanay, had been dead for a long time.
“How is your father?” Nanay asked my cousin again.
As you may have guessed, Ate Sonia’s father is also dead.
After some time, Nanay remarked “Everybody has left me. I am now alone.”
Her eyes started to tear up.
These days, there is not much that she can do. When she is up to it, she walks to the porch and watches people come and go. She even indulges in one habit that she has had for as long as I can remember:
During my first visit, I asked – “Do you still smoke with the lighted end inside your mouth?” She laughed. She still does.
It may be ironic, but I hope this one hobby sustains her when she is feeling alone and lonely and tired.
When I last saw her, she said “I am tired. I want to go.”
“No, you will live to be 200 and we will have a big party on your 105th,” I replied. That may be wishful thinking. But it will be nice to see her again.
*Community Tax Certificate
** Crazy; deranged
I am linking with Jakesprinters’ SUNDAY POST: BLACK AND WHITE.