My parents have been doing a lot of traveling in the last few months.
In November, they won a cruise vacation. It sounded like a relaxing way to explore the western coast of Mexico. My dad brought back several bottles of tequila and snapped some beautiful pictures at sea. Together – they had plenty of good food, bright sunshine and warm memories.
Now – they’re somewhere over the Pacific. This journey has brought together my mom’s side of the family.
In the Philippines, they will sample some amazing fresh fish and other dishes that you can’t find here in the States. They will hug nephews and nieces who have outgrown their elementary school uniforms and who are now trying on the shoes of adulthood. They will sing along to sentimental songs in Tagalog. They will laugh over absurd family gossip. And, I’m sorry to say, they’re hearts will break as they say good-bye to the woman who made it all possible.
My Lola passed away last week. May she rest in peace.
Nearly a decade ago, I met my Lola at this nipa hut. My Auntie opened the gate and let us inside her little home. I remember her rubbing my back as I crouched down in front of her wall. There – my brother and I grew-up in yellowing photographs. From the medal stand to the piano, she knew where we came from. She also knew we would eventually find our way back to her.
That night – my Tito’s family cooked fried milkfish, chicken adobo and other tasty dishes you can’t find on this side of the Pacific. My Lola got out of her seat and swayed to the music blaring on the TV. She was sipping a bottle of San Miguel. She wanted to go out and go dancing.
Spirited, loving and celebrating life. I will remember my Lola like this: enjoying her family and looking forward to our next visit home.