Grandpa

Today, we laid my remaining grandparent to rest. My Grandpa, who everyone fondly called Lolo, was reunited with my Lola (Grandma) on her birthday.

The last years of  Lolo involved countless trips to the hospital. It started with his eyesight problems. He developed problems in his digestive system. Later, his excretory system was affected. He underwent a sensitive operation two years ago. He survived and recovered only to suffer from stroke almost a year ago. We celebrated his 93rd birthday last November and the past months meant seeing him deteriorate each day. Though we live in the same city, I rarely see my Lolo. It was my cousins, uncles and aunties who ensured his safety and comfort.

Last Thursday, I fell asleep in our living room after a long day at work. I was tired. I was looking forward for the long weekend. Around 10 pm, my phone has been receiving endless calls and text messages. My cousins were looking for my Dad. Lolo is at his worst stage. We spent the last hours of the day until Lolo held his last breath.

After the funeral, we went home together. We rode Lolo’s jeepney and just like that, we felt happy and sentimental. That jeepney was Lolo’s main source of income. It financed his medical expenses and looking back, the jeepney served as our playground. It was Lolo’s means to spoil the desires of his grandchildren. We made road trips, watched cycling races, went to family events riding Lolo’s most treasured jeepney.

Unlike most of my cousins, it was hard for me to cry. Not that I’m suppressing my emotions or don’t feel affected. My Lolo will always have a special place in my heart. I will always remember the time when me and my cousins entered a large supermarket in Quezon City.  We were allowed to get anything we wanted from the chips and candies section. In 1992, he gave me Php 2,000 to open a bank account. At that time, I was a kid, who wanted to act like an adult, with her own savings passbook account. When my classes was scheduled in the afternoon, it was Lolo’s school bus who took me to school. And recently, I remember how Lolo contributed in shaping the current state of my career and work life.  Every Sunday, my Lolo would buy a copy of the Manila Bulletin. On Sunday night, I would take home the copy of the classified ads section. I noticed a job vacancy in the Research Department of an old school in Manila. I sent my application via email and the rest is history. Thirteen years passed, I’m still with the same company albeit in another office and position.

In times like this, much of myself is overpowered with fear. I don’t know if I can handle sickness and death within my family, my parents and lone special brother. With my Lolo, I have responsible cousins who took charge of everything. Whenever someone close to my heart suffers from sickness and death, part of me feels so frightened and nervous. Will I be able to handle everything? Being the family’s bread winner, the entire fate and future of my family is on my hands.

While my heart weeps for Lolo, I’m eaten by my own anxiety. Maybe this would last for several days. But once my real life (work and grown up concerns) starts to settle, everything will go away. I hope so….

To my dearest Lolo in heaven, thank you for everything you’ve done for the family. Thank you for the endless love and support to all your grandchildren. I will miss you dearly, family reunions will never be the same again. Please pray for me and the entire family. Help me forget all my fears, worries and guide me in every endeavor I undertake.

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It was just another day

Yesterday, while everyone has been engrossed over the rare appearance of the Blue Moon, I quietly traveled home feeling melancholy. It was supposedly a great day at work because a colleague celebrated her birthday and we had a sumptuous lunch. Added to this, I don’t have evening classes. It’s one of the rare times I was able to reach home early.    Unfortunately, I had another sadness and frustration episode again. Blame everything on the contents of my Facebook newsfeed. In some days, my newsfeed is like poison that attacks the immune system of my emotional well being.

I work for a relatively small organization. It’s an institution where everybody knows everybody, especially among the segment of my fellow support staff. It has it’s own advantages because getting the job done meant dealing with lesser number of people. On the flip side, office politics is easily felt among the ranks. I have been both a silent witness and victim of people who promoted and ventured in this system. What’s worst, the people, who once told me how much they hate politics, have become its perfect ambassadors.

Yesterday, I chanced a post from someone whom I thought as my friend. The post was proof that being loyal to a powerful force can really be advantageous. It can take you to places, money and different forms of material wealth. I initially thought I’m just bitter, envious and another sore loser. After some time, I realised some unhealed wounds are starting to live again. The pain came after and soon enough, I found myself in tears.

Many years ago, I was always afraid of work. Even now that I’m seeking for new job opportunities, I’m frightened of the new environment and responsibilities. In my more than a decade of working, I realised that work eventually becomes manageable over time. You struggle, learn and eventually discover how to untie the challenges of the accomplishing the work. Beyond the task involved on each work, it’s the people and culture that come with it become the real source of struggle.

I’m not a perfect employee. I have tardiness records. I steal office hours lurking over my social media accounts. There were days when I extend my breaks to accomplish personal errands. While I have imperfections, I compensate for productivity, honesty and service beyond expectations. Modesty aside, no one can accuse me of not delivering my responsibilities. And even without support for trainings and development, I find ways to learn new things and improve the quality of my reports. I even render overtime without pay, even when it meant reporting on weekends.

While I don’t expect the management to compensate my hardwork, the least I wanted to happen is to witness how some people gain as a result of holding on to a powerful individual. This brings me, an unfortunate reality at the workplace is that, loyalty is always rewarded and hardwork will most likely be discarded.

Unfortunately, the concept of loyalty I’m dealing with here, does not lean on the honourable side. It’s full surrender to someone who can provide them gains, without experiencing the real hardwork. What these people fail to realize, there’s something beyond the gains. It’s that sense of accomplishment that I have worked hard for everything I have. But no matter how much I emphasize this thought, some things just work out that way. Bad people are always part of every life story.

Then again, this was just another day when life reminded me of some painful realities. Painful enough to make me lose my diminishing self-esteem and further demoralize my demotivated self.