A tribute to my grandmother who passed away this month.
1. VISIT THEM
Make the extra effort to see them regularly. If you live in another country, make a way to see them at least once a year or sponsor them to come visit you. Let them enjoy their last years on earth with family.
I will miss hiking this breathtaking trail that led to my lola’s little house up in the mountains. Growing up, we spent so many summers here with my cousins. What a happy childhood it was!
2. LISTEN TO THEIR STORIES
You’ll be amazed at the many stories they have. Absorb all the life lessons and wisdom they impart.
I love hearing about my lola’s life in the past, how she met lolo and how they raised their family. I will miss sitting on the floor and listening to tales and legends of our tribe. She was a wonderful storyteller!
3. LET THEM SING
Old people love singing. Appreciate their music and listen to the melody of a life well-lived.
4. LEARN THEIR RECIPES
Grandparents have recipes that have been tried and tested through the years.
My lola’s traditional rice wine was everyone’s favorite. Even fellow rice wine-makers acknowledge her brand. I’ve never really paid attention because we always had a supply of it. Now that she’s gone, I wish I learned her secret.
5. GIVE THEM GIFTS
Share your blessings and buy them something they need or will appreciate. It doesn’t have to be grand. They won’t live on earth forever, be generous.
When we gave lola some simple or funny gifts, it was heartwarming to see her smile like a little child. When I used to work, I also sent her a small monthly allowance, which I know she spent for others. But that’s what gave her joy, so I was happy too.
6. VIDEO CALL THEM
It doesn’t take much effort to log in and say a quick hello.
But with lola, our hellos always end up being a long conversation. She would go on and on about her body aches! So I just listen because that’s the best medicine I can give.
I would tour her around my house or let her see what I was doing for the day. She can spend hours just sitting and watching her grandchildren say and do random stuff.
7. SURPRISE THEM
If their hearts are ok to withstand surprises, do it.
When I used to live overseas, my family and I would go all the way to “kidnap” her from the mountains and plan a homecoming surprise. I will always remember the look of shock and joy in her face when I pop out of nowhere to hug her.
“Achiya’ aya chan kela!” (I’m not crying at all!)
She would always say while wiping away tears from her eyes.
8. MAKE MEMORIES
Love is spelled T-I-M-E. When they’re gone, all you’ll have are memories. Make them good ones.
It wasn’t hard to make memories with lola. She was full of drama and laughter. It took ages to convince her to do something new, but she would cave and say all the funniest sarcastic remarks. At the end of the day she’d say, “ammay peet chi.” (that was fun)
9. TAKE FAMILY PHOTOS
A good family photo is classic and timeless.
10. BaSK in THEIR LOVE
A grandparent’s love is always giving. They love to love, especially towards their grandchildren. Receive their love and attention, for that gives them joy and purpose in the last years of their lives.
My cousins and I grew up bonded by the love of our grandparents. There was always something warm and therapeutic about coming home to lola. She’d give us the warmest blankets. She’d bring out her hidden stock of powdered milk, that she saved only for us. She prayed for us while we were sleeping. And she had hot coffee ready for us early in the morning.
I understand that not all of us have good relationships with our grandparents or grandchildren. But starting the process of healing and forgiveness is all worth it. Be intentional and do something good for them, little by little, day by day.
Or if you don’t have them around anymore, you can “adopt” a grandparent or a grandchild and do for them what you would have done for your real ones.
Life is short. One day you’ll hear news of them passing away. You wouldn’t want to grieve with so much regrets in your heart.
When lola died, I was full of joy and thanksgiving because God gave her to us for so many years. I was able to experience a grandmother’s love like hers.
Until we meet again, lola <3