I found out last night that one of my great aunts passed away. She was 88 years old.
This is the part about growing older that I can’t ever get used to.
She was my favorite Lola (grandmother) growing up in the Philippines. I absolutely adored her. She let me pluck the white hairs off her head! I don’t know why I did that, and why she even let me, but it’s one of my fondest memories. I remember being at her house for hours almost every day. Our mom worked a lot and was gone most of the day so my dad’s extended family took care of us (he was in the U.S. during this time).
She was kind and loving; one of the few grandmothers who showered me and my sister with affection and not criticism. We may not have been related by blood but it didn’t matter to her. At times she felt more like my actual grandmother than my dad’s mother ever did.
And now she’s gone.
And this is the only way I know how to say goodbye.
Typing words into the void of the internet. Trying so hard to recall memories from three decades ago. Wondering why I never wrote her any letters, or called her, only seeing her a few times whenever I visited the Philippines.
She was the last of her generation. My elders have all moved on, leaving us to carry their memories for them.
I hope she was proud of who I became. Time and space and oceans and language separated us but I like to think she was always with me somehow, deep in my memories, knowing without a doubt that I was loved.