Remembering Grandma Boning

October 8, 2008

I woke up this morning thinking about Lola Boning. Lola in our language means grandma.  I don’t know why but lately, I have been thinking of people and relatives who had passed.

I wish I had known Lola Boning more when she was alive.  We did not get to visit her as often as we would have liked because Mindoro was very far from Manila ( when I was growing up). Now, the travel is more convenient and the time to get there has been significantly reduced.  Back in the day, I would remember the long hours of waiting inside a parked bus, boat and another bus.  We would always get there around 3 – 4am…

Few memories stand out as I remember Lola Boning now.

1. Lola Boning fixing me a papaya snack with condensed milk one afternoon.

2. Lola Boning making her signature suman late through the night so that we could bring some on our way back to Manila.  Now that I am older, I am pining away for those original,  home-made sumans.  She made the best kind.

3. When I left for college in the US, I was so surprised to receive a letter from her. It was the only one she wrote.  I could not remember all the details contained but one significant sentence stood out and I remember it so clearly now…”napatunayan kong mahal mo pala ako kaya hindi mo kinuwento ang muntik mong pagkalunod kasi natatakot ka na baka tumaas ang presyon ko…”

“I have proven that you love me because you made secret your near-drowning incident because you were afraid that my blood pressure will rise…”

I can even visualize that paper now. I wish I had kept that letter.  She was referring to my near drowning incident up  in the mountains when I swam at the lagoon – and halfway through, my limbs froze because of the coldness of the water.  I almost drowned in a very remote place and no one, except God, would have seen me flailing away despite my Advanced Swimming class in UP the previous semester.

4. Lola Boning sitting at the bottom rung of the old staircase and telling me that Lolo Inoy was “asking her to join him…”

She said the first time she was asked was when I was leaving for college, and so she told him “but your grandson is going to the US. I will wait for him to come back first…”

The second time was when I got back. She said “but wait, I am still waiting for your grandson to marry someone…”

I just listened to her and hugged.  Wow, I can still smell her hair which she diligently took care of with coconut oil.

Lola did not want to travel that long to see my wedding. We planned to visit her afterwards – but unfortunately, it did not work out.  It was too late.  When I brought my wife to see my Lola – Lola Boning was already inside her coffin.  My uncle who had passed this February said “Hindi man lang nakita ni Lola mo ang asawa mo…”  ( Your grandmother did not even get the chance to meet your wife…)

He was right.

I did the funeral rites for Lola Boning at the request of my Dad before her coffin was taken to the Catholic Church for a catholic blessing.

I woke up thinking of Grandma Boning – and my thoughts shifted as well to Lola Santa and that one special prayer with her that I will never forget.

I don’t know why.  But I suddenly miss them both.

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