Family

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

My family really isn’t what you may call close. Since my Dad is not Filipino and is overseas, what I may call my family would be the one on my mother’s side, and since God has made sure my life would never be boring, it too has its quirks.

My grandfather has three families; the first is where we belong, my mother and her 4 siblings. The second he has 4 children. The third he has another 4. So all in all they are 13 siblings by virtue of my grandfather. As you may imagine, it all comes with complications I cannot even begin to tell.

The last 2 weeks has been an ordeal for all of us, probably more significantly to the third family because it is with them that he has finally settled down. He was rushed to the hospital because of a heart attack. It was his third, and it would be his last. For the past two heart attacks, it was mostly us, the first who was there for him, since most of his children in his 3rd family were in Dubai. But this time, my Aunt knew that this would be his last, so she contacted them and they flew in. Tears were shed of course and most of  his children were summoned to come and see his remaining days on earth. We, the grandchildren also visited. After all, I am probably one of the first grandchildren he has carried in his arms, so I wanted to pay my respects.

The first and the third family are probably the closest, because at some point we tried to co-exist. I can freely call my grandfather’s current wife “Lola” and their children, “Tita” or “Tito”. They’ve never shown any  ill feelings towards us, well not that they should because really, if there was anyone that was hurt the most, it’d be our side of the family, my Mom’s mom, my real Lola, who my Lolo is legally married to. My mother and her siblings had the bad experience of being with 2 stepmoms, being treated unfairly, and becoming household helpers of their “madrastas” the stepmoms. But now its all in the past. The children realize that the sins of the father should not be suffered by the children. Or so the first and third family believe because the second has vehemently denied reconciliation.

I don’t know why some cling desperately to pain. My Tita in the second family has always tried to bring up all the pain she had growing up; how she was robbed of her childhood, how my Lola in the third family thrust her face in mud once upon a time… But in the defense of my Lola(3rd) she deserved to be with my Lolo. She raised 4 good children and I had always felt her love whenever I visited, probably even greater than my blood-related Lola. And she had suffered the most in these past few months with my Lolo almost dying last January and then recovering, while she battled breast cancer herself. My Lolo flatlined twice in the hospital, and I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for her and her children. Whatever evil she may have inflicted before, my Lola(3rd) has probably redeemed herself. And it doesn’t go without saying that the 2nd family was faultless. They actually made my mother and her siblings suffer the most, where they were deprived of food, education etc., even if they were the legal children.

Yesterday was my grandfather’s funeral and after the whole ordeal, I feel that we may have all become closer. With the exception of the 2nd, I felt we were actually FAMILY. It was comforting to see that we cried in each others’ arms. There was no 1st or 3rd family: we were all one family mourning the loss of one man, who was not at all perfect, but in the end reunited his children, his family. We are now going to have a reunion on Saturday, for my Lolo’s pa-siyam(9 days), taking advantage of the fact that my Tito and Titas in Dubai are here. Maybe this was his last act, to try to blur, if not erase the lines that divide the three families. And he may have actually succeeded.

Goodbye Lolo. May you Rest in Peace.

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