Dec 10, 2011

My Hero

Mar 24, '09 11:36 AM

"Ate girl, don't forget ha, everyday kausap-kausapin

si Lola and tell her to pray for me."

That's what I repeatedly tell Lola's caregiver everytime I call.

My lola is 75 years old. She can't talk. I can't remember the last time I heard her say a word. The only time we hear her voice is when she cries--which is often. She can't walk either--or stand for that matter. She sits on a wheelchair all day and must be carried to her bed at night. She already lost control of most of her muscles. That means she's in diapers. She always chokes even on mashed food because of problems with her swallowing muscles. Her neck, arms and legs are rigid all the time so she really can't move even if we help her.

My lola has Alzheimer's disease, or so we've been told. Some doctors say that she has severe dementia coupled with complications of a mild stroke that went unnoticed years ago.

Before this illness, my Lola was the opposite of what I just described. She's just like the Lola we all had--except better. My brothers and I grew up with her and Lolo. Both my parents work during the day so we're usually left to their care. Lola taught me early catechism and I like to believe that I have great faith in God today because of her. She bought me my first books and she took me to all my school field trips. My favorite foods until today are the ones which Lola used to cook for us when we were little. In addition to all that, and most important of all, she buys me lollipops when everyone was trying to keep sweets from me.. she comes to my rescue when Kuya's treating me like a punching bag during a fight.. she never gets annoyed when I ask too many questions and she never raises her voice at us when we screw up. She's also very active. We never see her sitting around during the day. She's always up and about the house.. always cooking something, organizing the house, inviting guests over and asking us about school.

These past few years, though, she's not well. It's hard for me to even look at her.. to see that she's suffering and crying because she can't talk to us and ask us how we are just like she used to. It hurts to see that she's sad and scared inside and she can't even express it.. to see that the Lola I once knew is gone.. the one who took care of me when I was the one who cannot walk, or needed help when eating..when i couldn't control my own muscles or change my own diapers..when I was the one who bothered everyone with my crying because I'm hungry or something hurts and I can't talk. It hurts everyone in the family but all we can do is pray for her.

Well, she may be less than what she was but I'm proud of her. No less than I have ever been proud of her before. And I am proud of my family for standing by her through all these. Lola may not be well but she's not alone and I know, one way or another, that makes her happy. I once knew someone's Lola before who was very healthy until she turned 90. She was still strong but was miserable because she lived alone when she has 5 children and several grandchildren. Until her last days she had no family members by her side. I witnessed her grief and misery for many years and I am just happy for my own Lola that she's not going through that because no illness is more painful than dying alone.

And today she's blessed. Today is Lola's birthday. I said a prayer for her. I asked that even when it seems impossible, may she be given genuine happiness even for a day--even just for her birthday.

Later in the afternoon, something wonderful happened. One great news arrived. It was something my family and I have been waiting for for a long time.. something that has been my greatest dream since I started college. God gave it to me on Lola's birthday and I know why. It is His birthday gift to my Lola because Lola keeps praying for me. Everyday she prays for it to happen for me. She's not able to tell me that but I know in my heart that she does. And just as He answered Lola's prayer, He also answered mine..because I know Lola is genuinely happy today that God answered her prayers to bless her favorite apo. Thank you Lord.

And to Lola....
today, during the hardest, lowest time of your life..when you feel useless..when you feel like you can't do anything at all.. I want you to know that you have actually done something really great for me today..something far greater than all the things you did for me when you were still able..and it may be the greatest thing that ever happened to me..

so Lola..please don't feel that way..and don't cry anymore..because your silent prayer is my hope and your unmoving presence is the driving force of my life.. You are that strong for me Lola. I will forever be thankful to you and I love I always have, my dear Lola..

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