To guess the surprises that each day brings is something that I seldom think about. When I woke up this morning, I thought that it would just be another ordinary day. Little did I know that something bitter and sweet would dominate the starting day of my week.
On my way home from work, I planned to prepare a special dish for myself. Pinakbet is a native, Ilocano dish that I love. Ingredients include different local vegetables, cooked in fish sauce. Not all people would like it. Even A loathes the fishy smell of it. But I love this dish so much. It is a specialty that the old folks in my Dad’s barrio (where he grew up) would cook for us when we come and visit.
While cooking my little treat for the day, I received an overseas call from home. My Dad’s aunt passed away. She was 94.
My Dad’s mom died at the age of 48 because of breast cancer. I was five then. So I have but a few special memories of my Lola Maria. I grew up looking up to her three surviving sisters, Macaria, Aurora and Concepcion, as grandmothers. Lola Macaria is a petite lady, very quiet and meek. She lived a very simple life. When I heard that she passed away, there is something in me that hurt even we were not that close. Maybe, because my very young heart considered her as a real grandmother. Maybe, I saw a piece of my Lola Maria in her. It is hard to explain, only me who can really understand why.
Then, I ate the Pinakbet that I cooked with nice memories of my Dad’s little barrio and his aunt.
* Lola — is a Filipino word meaning grandmother.