My grandmother passed this week. She was the matriarch of our family. Her life story, if it was a book, contained many chapters, beginning in the Philippines in 1925. I wouldn't do her justice if I pretended to know and write about her life, but I do know what I shared with her. She made my lunches in grade school, she was there to randomly talk to during high school, she was one of my movie partners in college.
Where her chapters and mine collided is where I'll be today. I'll remember the times she laughed, played piano, did chores happily, loved cooking (some dishes great, some not so great lol), but most of all, I'll remember her legacy: family is important.
After college, I went on to create my own family. Less and less time was with Lola, but more and more time with 2 (3) of the greatest boys.
One day, I was talking to Lola about the boys. Her eyesight was fading, and she said she only remembers Jason's face. She asked me what Jesse looked like. "You can tell they're brothers." She told me she noticed the way my voice doesn't get loud when I talk to them. She told me she was glad that the boys are learning about Jesus. She said there's something special about my little family. She told me that she was proud.
My dad said to remember the first time she smiled at you, and the last time. I will never forget.
My Lola proved that family comes first. Maybe it's no coincidence that her own mother was a schoolteacher. Because Lola always believed in a responsibility to look out for the young ones. When her family grew and grew and grew, she made sure to instill a sense of morality, of right and wrong, of the just, of God. I keep that with me, for my family and my career.
Family lives on. I will think of the way she raised her own kids and grandkids, and I will make sure my kids know manners, respect, integrity, positivity. The next generation will not quite know what it was like to live in the presence of Lola, but they can be sure that the legacy of the "Santos Mafia" continues. The kids will be adults, and hopefully they see that "your children will become who you are, so be who you want them to be" (anonymous). Bury "boys will be boys."
P.S. My cousin's perspective of Lola