A Lighthouse from Above

Allow me to make this post as tribute to my grandmother who passed away last June 7, Friday.
Lighthouse - Nagudungan Hill
Nagudungan Hill, Calayan Islands, Cagayan | Photo by Claudine Faylogna

Call me lucky. I was able to meet my grandmothers from both sides. I remember my Nang Tura and my Tang Choy, my dad’s parents, visiting our place almost every year when I was still young despite the four to six hours of boat ride and ten to twelve hours of bus run. It was more feasible for them to pay a visit in the Metro than having us leave school and work (for my parents back then) to go to our province in Calayan Islands, Cagayan since boat trip schedule isn’t regular. Trips depend on the wind and waves’ friendliness.

I was supposed to wait for the regular operations of the recently inaugurated airport so I can finally visit my parents’ hometown without any unexpected extension of stay. But I guess Nang Tura couldn’t wait for that anymore.

I was at the office when I read my Mom’s message at our family group chat. We immediately booked a bus ride going to Cagayan to catch the earliest boat trip we could hop into. While on our way, it still didn’t sink in to me yet. I just thought, Nang’s already old, and what happened is actually inevitable for all of us. But as I have seen the shoreline of North’s paradise, things were slowly settling in.

Last Christmas, she was with us, singing. Last New Year’s eve, she was with us, dancing. I just never thought that last Christmas and New year’s eve would actually be her last.

Upon reaching my Auntie’s house (which is just within my Dad’s family’s compound) where my Nang lies for her wake, I felt all the regrets a granddaughter could feel. I wish I had spent more time with her. I wish I had told her more stories. I wish I had made plans earlier to visit her in the province from time to time. But none of these wishes matter now, because they will now remain to be just wishes. Regrets, rather.

On another note, I am thankful that we got to spend her last Christmas and New Year’s eve together. I am glad that she was still able to meet Errol. I am happy that she was able to see us, her granddaughters, grow. I am just grateful that she was able to live a good and content life, and see how wonderful the world is for 76 years.

It’s been three weeks. And I swear that reality came into a hard hit when they opened her case during the final blessing, because I know that’s the last time that I’m ever gonna see her. But as I type this, I hear her laugh, and I imagine her smile. And although I’m never gonna hear that sound ever again, I suppose she’s doing well from the lighthouse, probably enjoying a cone of ice cream or a glass of iced tea — her favorites, looking over us as we wait to see her on the other side when the time comes.

We will miss you, Nang Tura. May you rest in the peace that you have always deserved.

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