©Marc Villarin

My dear Nanang, I will never forget the sweet smile on your face whenever the cousins and I came to visit. We were always more than welcome in your house. You would spoil us with unlimited food and soda. It became a thing for laughs, but it was actually sweet when you said you felt full just by seeing us enjoy our food.

How I will miss those bright eyes as you tell the story of how you and Tatang met and fell in love. How I will miss your stories of the Second World War, the life in your eyes as you tell the stories of Tatang outsmarting the invaders with threats of malaria and bravely fighting them with only a machete and a pocketful of sand.

©Lian Palado

Nanang, my Nanang, how I loved to brag that my grandmother in her nineties was still strong enough to do household chores. And how it broke my heart when I saw you weak and frail, barely able to stand and walk on your own.

Not even my strong Nanang, who I strongly believed to live up to more than a century, escaped the inevitable mental deterioration. But even when your memory was fading, you never forgot my name. “Demi Austin”, you said with that beautiful smile I always loved. After all, I was named after the love of your life.

Then as another day was breaking, your story was ending. I wish I was there holding you hand as you struggled for your last breath. But I hope that as you gasped for air, your heart was glowing with life. After all, you were headed home.

And you are home now. You’re with Tatang. And even better, you get to see our sweet Heavenly Father face to face, and enjoy His loving embrace for all eternity.

I will see you again. So, goodbye, my Nanang, for now.