I still remember our last conversation.
“My, you pray because the Lord will hear your prayers,” and I replied “Really, tay?”
“Yes, of course,” he answered back.
I was feeling so low and almost depressed because I was going through a lot of problems during that time and I felt that almost everything was falling apart. But I was thankful that my grandfather needed me. Of course, he didn’t ask me to be there for him but his caregiver resigned from the job and no one else was available to take care of him. He was my only confidant during that time and I felt so blessed to have him.
We swapped stories about our lives and he even kept on teasing me last December because he – who was lying on bed all the time had a bonus while I didn’t. He joked that I was so foolish for resigning from my job when my papers for Qatar weren’t ready yet. He always kept on saying “No work, no pay!” and we’d both laugh together. He was worried about me not having any job during that time. But I, on the other hand, felt lucky and blessed to have spent time with the most important people in my life, including him. I knew that his time was near and I could not imagine myself being in Qatar when that time comes.
When Tatay was still strong, we weren’t very close and we didn’t talk often because, like other grandfathers, he was always busy attending to his chickens, turkeys, and other “man-business”. But when he was already bedridden, he had no other choice but watch TV and chat with whoever he’s stuck with. Haha.
I felt so touched when I was so sick and no one else could accompany me to the hospital and he told his caregiver, Ate Minda, to be with me. Even though that would mean nobody else would be there by his side to change his lying position (he usually asks Ate Minda to “takilid” change his lying position every 15 minutes because his back would ache). He was so worried about me and would ask Ate Minda every fifteen minutes if I already got out of the hospital – when he was also sick himself.
Tatay was bedridden for almost six years. It was hard for all of us – there were conflicts among his 8 children, caregivers gave up and could not sustain the loss of sleep and daunting task of taking care of an old person, and most especially, I knew it was harder for him to have to ask someone else to do simple things that he used to do all by himself – eating, taking a bath, and even taking a pee.
He was the only granny left to me. And I still feel so blessed to have the opportunity to do things for him that I wasn’t able to do for my other grannies. Being away from home almost my entire life, one of my fears is to go home when someone has already passed away. That is why, I always try to make it a point to spend time with my loved ones as if it was the last.
One of the things I wish we were able to do for my grandfather is to have had a family reunion. I wish he had a chance to see all of his eight children and apos before he died. Isn’t it ironic how people go home when someone in the family has passed away to attend the funeral when they passed the chance to let the person know they care when he was still alive? I know that Tatay could have been so happy if he had that chance.
Spend each day with your loved ones as if it was the last. Tell them how much you love them, show them how much you care. Because you’ll never know when they – or you, will leave this world.