Your passing away didn’t come as a surprise. It wasn’t like it was all of a sudden, for you had been bed-ridden for years. It wasn’t as if your presence by my side will be missed, because you had not been there. And it wasn’t also like you had been the one whom I can call the greatest grandmother in the world, for I can still reminisce how afraid I was of you when I was a child and how I have always felt jealous of the attention and care you extended to my cousins.
But it is sad, and it is always going to be. It is sad because the only special thing between us that I can ever write in a eulogy, elegy, or an anecdote for you is the pink rabbit.
It was just a week after we came back from the annual eight-day religious affair when you handed me some stuff in a plastic bag: a pair of red plastic scissors in a magnetic strawberry holder, a retractable pen, and a woven coin purse. At first I was baffled as to why you were giving them to me. They sure didn’t look new, much more a gift set. And then I realized that those were the things I had been mindlessly mentioning during our stay in the retreat. There was one occasion when I needed a pen so I can write something down on my notepad and my trusted pencil case was nowhere in sight. There were also isolated moments when I blurted out my need for scissors and then another incident, when I mentioned that I had lost my coin purse. That was that one moment when I knew just how much you cared even though you never showed it.
It was then followed by you giving me pieces of stuffed animals and plush toys attached to a cloth that serve as a holder of sorts. And even though they were not something you bought for me, I knew that you had to look in your house for things that you can give me. Again, at first, I was puzzled as to why you would give me one small stuffed head detached from where it was previously glued to, a larger pink rabbit head with arms and a pair of its paws. And just like the weeks before, you had a heartwarming reason behind those seemingly weird gifts: You knew that I like stuffed toys and you had something interesting in mind. You instructed me to find a circular basket or any wooden container to which the rabbit will be glued. Flowers are then to be put inside the container. That way, it will look as though a bunch of flowers has taken captive of the rabbit’s body. I remember that plan well enough. It took me quite a while to find an oval wooden vessel. I stumbled upon it on sale in a novelty crafts shop which I immediately attached to the pink bunny as a DIY project. But it is only today that I’ve filled it with flowers.
After sharing our love for knickknacks, we have become close that one day, you called at home, looking for me, asking for some time to share your loneliness and expressing how you would like to talk about my day. You called several times over, about thrice or more, I could no longer recall. But I will never forget the sound of your voice, that was a mix of anxiety and despair, both of which I did nothing to subside, and that have resulted to your alleged running away.
Several years later, I have left you a promise that I did not keep, on that day I paid you a long-overdue visit, where we cried in unison. I promised that I would come back to get your rusty wheelchair fixed but didn’t, despite having a year to do so. Even though there wouldn’t be much of a difference had I kept my promise, I know deep inside your heart, that you waited for our return. It was a regret that have kept me weeping for days after learning of your death.
It is sad because you will never be able to read this and know how much I have cherished your thoughtful gifts and appreciated the person you have become — strong, brave, and faithful woman I’ve had the privilege of knowing.
It is sad and it will always be.