Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stages

Yesterday I made a quick list of names of family members and friends to whom I am planning to give gifts this Christmas. I was caught off guard when I was about to include my Lola, my mother's mother, in the list.

I did not know if I should laugh or cry when I caught myself about to do that. You see, my maternal grandmother passed away two months ago. When we learned that she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), we immediately rebooked our plane tickets so we could fly back to the Philippines the following day. Thank God, after more than 24 hours of crossing time zones, we reached her. Alive. She was still in the ICU, complete with IV lines and monitors, but she was alive. That was the most important thing as of that moment. The first fear I had then was that she will be gone even before our plane landed on Philippine soil. Thank God, she waited for me and my mother, who is her youngest daughter.

I was at a loss when I peeped through the ICU and saw her lying on her hospital bed for the first time. I felt like my license was stripped off me. I felt as if my brain was washed clean of everything I knew in medical school. The great flood that rocked the ark of Noah was inside my head. It's hard to be objective when this time the patient was my grandmother, the woman whom I have been with most of my life.

She waited but did not stay long. She left us a day after we arrived. She left, never to return again.

This will be my family's first Christmas without her. As I look back, I realize she had a life well-lived, just like her namesake, Mother Teresa. She was God-fearing, enduring. She is the most patient person I know. To say that she is loving to all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, in-laws, etc, would be giving out the biggest understatement of all. She will always be in my mind and in my heart, most especially. I am still going through the stages of grief right now and I don't know for how long. All I know is, I am glad, that my life was blessed with the presence of my own Grandmother Teresa. Still, I long for her. I miss her sooooo much. But yes, life has to move on. Maybe not a mile a minute as for now. But though slowly, I will move on.

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