I always remember my grandmother story. When I was young, my father always asked me to visit her during school vacation. As an authoritarian she was, I constantly hesitated, but had always to follow him.
My grandparents live in a countryside which I really don’t like before. Someone like me from the city trapped with the oldies and conservative people, someone like me used to play outside ensnared with my grandparents’ rule of praying, cleaning and gardening. I was a faithful granddaughter, then so I always pretended to enjoy my summer vacations.
One day, a massive storm hit the southern area of Surigao in Philippines, all the small houses made in bamboo was slowly going astray in the air, except for my grandparents house that made of rock was sturdily stay in place. At that time, there was no electricity and had only a little supply of food. For 3 days, it was a scary moment in my life. I thought the house will shatter and the whirlwind will carry me up and it would be the end of my life. But my grandparent’s never-ending prayers helped me to remain strong.
At that time, when we can’t be able to sleep, my grandmother always called me up to listen to her stories while my grandfather is listening. This story has been shared with me every vacation, that’s why I know every detail of it. The story of her, of my grandfather, of her children and of her first love.
It happened before the World War 2 started and after the Second Philippine Republic rose.
My grandmother was raised by strict parents, not allowing her to study after high school for a reason that education is useless for women. But she was an intelligent lady, she continued to learn, read many books as she can and hoped to be a writer. During her younger years, she met this man; she described him as full of ambitions, intelligent and handsome. She had her heart only to him; he was her first and greatest love.But this man was not my grandfather, not the man whom she married. I always wondered what my grandfather thought every time she tells the story, is he crying in pain by silence? Or just simply pretend not to be affected.
This man and my grandmother had the relationship. She was very happy and contented then, ready to be his wife and to serve him for the rest of her life. Until the World War 2 took place in the Philippines, the history shattered many lives of people including her life. Since the invader had more control of the countryside and smaller towns were often tenuous at best, the two of them separated by war. Her man promised to return and she has to wait. At that time, my grandfather was a soldier, fighting in the war and at the same time fighting for his love to my grandmother even she rejected him many times.
The war has ended.
The man never returned.
She still waited.
My grandfather hoped.
She was devastated.
The man has gone.
Until she learned that she had something inside of her. She’s pregnant out of wedlock, a craze that would bring shame to her family and to her reputation. She lost her hope; she cried in anguish, how she can have the life she wanted without the man she loved most. Then my grandfather offered her to be her husband and to be a real father for the baby she carried. I don’t know why she accepted it, but every time I have this discussion with my father, he would always say because his mother loved his father. I cannot understand how great the love of my grandfather to her, without hesitation, without a pride to take, he accepted and loved her, and raised the baby as his own and became his favorite daughter.
They had another five children too, and she was very proud of them. Despite of this, I can see there was still sadness in her eyes every time she told the story, she had still regrets for not waited him longer enough. Then I understand, she still loves her great love and never had a closure to say goodbye. I know she didn’t get along well with my grandfather because of this deadly love caused her and I feel so sorry for him, how a pure love not to be subsist with a love too? Why can’t she understand that someone has been given a life for her? That I don’t know why, because I never been there, maybe their children can explain.
Over the years had gone and the family history has been opened, my first aunt finally met her father, and his family. I can’t stop thinking how my grandmother feels at that moment, learning that her great love is still alive. I don’t know exactly how they found him, but I am sure it was a blessing.
My grandmother decided to meet him and flown to Manila. My grandfather left behind, maybe quietly allowing her wife to be happy once again and to finally say goodbye.
What kind of love is that be.
I never witnessed what happen when they finally meet again. I just know the book was closed. When my first aunt brought her half brother to our place, my father accepted him; I know it was a good sign. Maybe it was a family history issue, but at the end, what matters most is how the involved people find peace and happiness.
When my grandfather died, I never saw my grandmother cried. Strong enough to hide it, because I know she loved him, maybe not the kind of love she had given to her first love but I am sure she loved him.
When my grandmother died, I never cried too. That’s what she told me, never grief, her death.
My grandmother was a blunt disciplinarian person, even in my dreams she always appeared. My grandfather was a lenient one. In their memories, I always respect them. And to cherish the lessons I learned from their history. I know there is still kind of love out there, confusing but pure and simple.