Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fallen from Grace


It seems like just yesterday, when i posted about somebody's death. But if a lot of people were saddened with Jerome's death, nobody was for my poor old Aunty Grace's.

On our way home from the airport, two weeks ago, my mom told me she was dead. She died the day before i arrived. i asked my mom where the wake was being held. "Angeles, Pampanga, " came the reply. She didn't know anybody in Pampanga. She wasn't from that place. i found myself dozing off in the backseat of my cousin's car headed towards Angeles. We found the wake - empty, save for three househelps giggling in a corner. There were four wreaths - one from her adopted daughter's family, one from her sister-in-law's family, one from the funeral parlor, and one from her insurance company.

***

She was a character. she was described as an attractive and powerful woman, her face always made up , her hair high, and always dressed in a balloon skirt and high heels in the 60s and 70s. Sepia pictures displayed on her dusty table showed her in parties with the distinguished and elite people of the town.

She was mean. No househelp could stand her long. She accused one of stealing and clipped her hair bald. i heard of others being bruised before being sent away. A cousin of mine who stayed with her for some time never got married as Auntie Grace would frighten all her suitors away. Relatives feared her.

She was scary. My mom told us this story a long time ago. She had a fight with Auntie Grace in college and while coming out of the campus, she was dragged into a car by two unidentified men. Luckily she escaped. She somehow connected that incident with her fight with the old lady but didn't give out details.

But i never knew that mean old lady. The Auntie Grace i knew was a funny, frail old woman whom i always kid around. When her adopted daughter moved to Manila, the old lady was left alone in her house. The thieves knew of this and kept robbing the house that she literally sealed herself from the outside world out of fear. On her door she wrote in scrawny letters with a piece of chalk: "Beware robbers! High Tech Security Gadgets around. You are being watched by a secret camera."

Every week after school i'd check on her, fearing that she might have fallen down her stairs and was already decomposing without anybody noticing. Or maybe murdered by a robber who wasn't fooled by her door warnings. Oh but she was deaf! She wouldn't hear you if you called her name. From the outside, you'd think the house was deserted. I would throw about 3 or 4 stones against her window before she took notice. then she'd yell (to which i'd say to myself, oh she's still alive). She'd look out to see who was throwing stones at her house and would be thrilled to see me stading by her gate. Then she'd rush downstairs and start unlocking her door with her bunch of keys. there had been more than 5 bolts on that door.

I'd stay for some chit chat and then she'd ask me to play the piano for her. She was good player until her arthritis got to her fingers. She thought i was a prodigy (she exaggerates) and volunteered to give her piano to me when she died. She told me to take up Music at the Abelardo. A few years later, her house got flooded and, to my dismay, ruined the old piano. Good thing i had already stolen most of her pieces.

i was the nephew she liked most. she didn't like a lot of people.

Then the stroke came. And then the fractured hip. And the burden she caused her adopted daughter's family. And a lot more stories of pain and suffering. The once powerful and feared lady was reduced to a cripple.

And then finally death. Maybe she had been praying for it to come. She went silently knowing that her passing away would ease many tired hearts. She made a lot of enemies. i doubt it that she had friends. It is sad that she was buried in a place where no one cared for her, or knew her for that matter. But what is death anyway? "Death may be the greatest of all human blessings," so says Socrates. Maybe it was for my dear old Auntie Grace and the people around her. And in her passing, no tears were shed.

i don't think she will be missed by anyone but me.

*********
my first metion of aunty grace on this blog was this.

and then the hip replacement.

19 Comments:

Anonymous piknik said...

sabihan ka ba naman ng: magkoment ka biset! eh di magkokoment ka talaga!

may auntie grace rest in peace.

madami pa sana ako sasabihin kaso baka mauwi sa name na nakakatuwa so wag na lang.

kitakits!!!

4:51 AM  
Anonymous snglguy said...

It's so sad at what happened to your Aunt Grace. Especially at the wake where nobody's around, but such is life.

I hope she finally finds her peace....

8:17 AM  
Anonymous jey said...

may she rest in peace.

my condolences.

8:37 AM  
Blogger sam said...

sad story naman ito... :c i got scared too..

9:27 AM  
Blogger cruise said...

my sympathy to you..

naisip ko tuloy kung turn ko na, may makaka miss kaya sa akin? reflecting...

9:52 AM  
Blogger atticus said...

i was laughing out loud when i first read your "tastes like aunt grace" post months ago. and i thought you were mean when you told her all those scary things before her operation.

she's a product of her time. and her experiences. may she rest in peace.

gusto ko pag namatay ako inuman pa rin. tatlong gabi. sunud-sunod. walang uuwing hindi lasing. at mumurahin ako at sasabihing...
"namu, hanggang pagkamatay, kakaiba ka!"

4:47 PM  
Blogger Rudy man said...

lungkot naman pero meron tlga mga tao na ganyan. sigruo its their choice, dun sila masaya. ako ok lng kung walang pumunta sa libing ko eh di rin naman ako makakapunta sa libing nila.

condolences doc.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous miwa said...

seems like she lived a lonely life but maybe she was happy to have had it that way.
she would be so happy if only she could read what you have written here. medyo creepy nga lang yun.

at least one person will miss her.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Abi said...

How sad. Siya ba yung tita mo na nasa corner yung house, na malapit sa palengke? I always thought that house was abandoned.

Sumalangit nawa ang kaluluwa niya.

5:20 PM  
Blogger duke said...

piknik. panget. mumultuhin ka ni auntie grace ko.

snglguy. yes, sad it is. i believe she found her peace a long time ago. problem is, people she wronged never forget.

jey. thanks. i'm not really that sad. i believe all this time my fondness for her was mostly pity. and now that she's delivered of her miseries, i hope death was a sweet escape.

sam. bat ka naiscare ke auntie grace? had you seen her matatawa ka lang talaga. hehehehe. mumu na sya lagooooot!

cruise. di ko alam. basta kung turn mo na alam mo kung kanino mo ipapamana ang kamera mo. hekhekhkehkhek.

atticus. i've got lots more funny auntie grace stories but she's dead na. i guess this'll be the last.

rudyman. ako ayoko nakikita ako sa kabaong. dapat sealed palagi. para yung good memories lang maalala nila.

miwa. the last years were lonely. i really hope she doesn't read any of this. hahahahahaha.

abi. yup, it's that house alright. you'd just think it wasnt empty. tho abandoned in another sense could be a fitting description. but she was there alright. at night you'd see her yellow bulb in her kitchen. i don't know why she thrived on that yellow bulb.
ay, sana nga sumalangit sya. hehehehe. takot lang nya.

11:02 PM  
Blogger f.r.i.e.d.w.a.t.e.r. said...

condolence. i remember your auntie grace from the blog entry re: iced tea.

tulad mo, di din ako sumisilip sa kabaong para wala akong picture (in my mind) na patay na siya. all good memories.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Rey said...

my grandmother's sister was like that. She was an old maid and has really a bad attitude. She died at her bed alone...

11:59 AM  
Blogger meigh said...

uy, condolence. mukhang lab na lab ka nga ng aunty grace mo, talagang tinaon niyang nandito ka na pag-alis niya.

nawa'y masaya na siya sa piling ni Lord...

9:12 AM  
Blogger tin-tin said...

condolence...

at least somebody loved her and misses her. khet isa ka lang

1:15 PM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

Very few people have the ability to see something special in a person who is "mean and cruel". I salute you Doc for going out of your way to make your Auntie Grace feel special. May she rest in peace (though I'm sure she'll be watching over you).

11:33 AM  
Blogger duke said...

friedchicken. sumisilip naman ako sa kabaong. ayoko lang pag ako na yung patay e masilip ako. actually sinusubukan kong silipin kung makita ko yung tahi sa mga labi, yung make up kung maganda, kung totoong may bulak sa ilong. hehehe.

reyvillegas. mukha ngang daming hangups ng old maids no? ang lungkot talga pag namamatay na mag-isa.

meigh. hay naku, sobrang lab ako nyan. ako lagi hinahanap kahit na 2 beses ko lang nakita in 5 years.

tintin. tenks. di naman siguro ako nag-iisa. heheeh. meron din siguro nalongkot.

bugsybee. she was nice to me that's why i was nice to her. i guess if she was mean to me, i wouldn't like her at all. hehehe.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous van said...

she may lived alone, pero at least in a few snippets of her life, you made her happy. :)

PS: irog, madrama ka talaga

PPS: there's hardly anything to say about death, but here: *hugs*

:)

7:45 PM  
Anonymous lukin reloaded said...

sympathy and condolences.

11:06 AM  
Blogger My Life is Grand said...

I'm from Angeles :) Wee. Well...Socrates himself was not liked by his interlocutors, you know. :) Maybe he and your Auntie Grace had one thing in common: they didn't mind being disliked. Sometimes it pays off to be that way.

5:31 PM  

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