Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Grandma's House

"Not a shelter made of bricks, but a heart that understands, that covers, that loves." 
                                               -- Mother Teresa

One of the most amazing, wonderful, and kindest person I was ever fortunate to have in my life was my paternal grandmother. A huge bulk of my best and greatest childhood memories were made possible because of her. When God drew up plans on what a grandmother should be, she was it. She babysat for me from the time I was born because my mother (which is her daughter-in-law), was working full-time. I have always known her to be just the most serene, patient and compassionate being. Aside from that, she was a lot of fun, she never raised her voice at her grand kids, now matter how rowdy we got, never seemed irritated at our antics, and in fact was in on every kind of fun game and escapade that was the stuff of a young child's dream. She passed almost 13 years ago, and we still sorely miss her. 

I must say one of her greatest attributes was how she was for the family and her home, truly the glue that held everything together. She was the sunshine that lit up the house, content to be in the background, making sure everybody was always well-fed, happy and had someone to talk to. To me it seemed that this was how she spent her days, just to be that one person who was always there, without much personal agenda, nowhere to go, so that when the rest of came and went, there would always, be somebody there. When she left us, the hole that she left was so huge, it seemed nothing could ever fill it up. My dad had once said, that he's had a pretty happy life, but until her death never knew that such deeply profound sorrow ever existed. 

From as far back as I can remember, her house always looked the same. It was pretty large with nice furniture, but my grandmother was never into things like rearranging, decorating or anything like that. It just wasn't her thing, and she rarely fretted over a few dusty tables or a chair gone askew. She had much better things to do. So, everything looks the same to this very day, except for one important thing. A few years after her death, I came back. I went into every room, peeked at all the familiar corners, checked if I still remember where everything was. It was so easy because like I said, everything was just as it always was. Same furniture, same drapes, same photographs on the wall. Everything was familiar except for the gnawing, hollow feeling that came to me when I felt the real difference. She was no longer there, and therefore things are not the same and never will be again. My grandmother, who never seemed to be consumed by her house, somehow, became "the house." She really was the home everybody came back to and took shelter and comfort from.

There is a Filipino saying that goes, "Mothers are the light of the home." How very true that is. At the end of the day, children and husbands come home, tired, hungry and weary, and it matters not what kind of house it is, it only matters that inside is a woman, waiting with open arms, ready with nourishment, and a heart to listen to everything we have to say. 

Happy Mother's Day.

Shown above: "Mother & Child" by Pablo Picasso

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