I started encoding and then I stopped and deleted what I first wrote. Then again, I encoded then deleted everything. I did not know what to write. I have so many experiences that as far as I am concerned are religious in a sense. As a result, it is quite hard for me to choose among them. They are not too miraculous anyway, not astounding. They are simple experiences that deepened my little faith.
I grew up with my grandparents from whom I learned the basics of my faith. They were the ones who taught me how to pray and be charitable to people. Though my grandfather was not a regular churchgoer, however, he was always with us as we pray the rosary every night. He was even one of those people who encouraged me to be a sacristan (altar Boy). Undeniably, he supported me in being of service in our parish. He said it is better for me to stay in the church than to be with friends who might badly influence me.
During my high school years, I became inconsistent in serving our parish. On the other hand, my grandfather became sickly by this time. Also, it was then that our house in Pasig City was ready for residence, so my mom and siblings transferred there. However, I opted to stay with my grandparents. After all, I was already in my 4th year and my friends are in Malolos.
Three months before my graduation, my grandfather became very ill. This thing made us so sad. My grandmother broke the news about my Lolo having cancer. And the most painful part was—it was malignant. He was dying. His medicines were not for the cancer itself but just to ease the pain. He did not want to be operated either. He was ready to go. I was ready to go likewise. By this time, I was about to take an entrance examination for a seminary. My grandfather’s health deteriorated, but not his way of supporting me. He remained encouraging of my decision. I remember somebody told me “he was (my grandfather) successful in forming me.” I just could not perfectly recall who he was.
The cancer brought so much pain to our family but more so to my grandfather. Every time the cancer attacks, he was agonizing, crying and shouting. It was actually at that moment that I first saw him praying. Instead of shouting out the agonizing pain, he would shout his prayer until the pain stops. I even remember one night we were all awakened by his cries. We rushed to his bedroom and checked him out. My grandmother was at his side. My grandfather, when he knew we were also there (my aunts and I), he requested us to pray the rosary with him. He wanted to die. The pain was already unbearable for him. He wanted to rest. He wished that God will come to take him.
By Easter Sunday, three days before my graduation, I came home in the evening after I attended Mass. My grandmother was in the kitchen, preparing something for dinner. She was quiet so I talked to her. I was told a lay minister visited for communion. After I ate, I went to my Lolo who was alone in his room. He was in bed, now, unresponsive. His eyes were open but he was not saying a word, yes, he was still breathing, still alive. I was happy.
After a while, my grandfather started to shout. He was again in pain. Tears fell from his tired eyes. He kept on shouting “patawad.” He tried to raise his thin arms thrice then continued shouting “patawad.” I knew it was the day. Fast as I can, I went to my friend-nurse whose home was adjacent to ours. I requested her to get my Lolo’s blood pressure. While my mind was in chaos trying to do something to save my dying Lolo, my Lola was seated on the sofa, silently crying. She did not even bother to look at my Lolo. She was in pain too. I was doing all the running and calling. I wanted to bring my Lolo to the hospital.
Suddenly, I felt helpless. I accepted the reality that there was nothing I can do. I went where my Lolo was. Then, there I caught myself crying beside him up until he breathed his last. And what seemed to be a fading eternity, he finally got what he wanted—rest. Somewhere deep inside me, I was sure he was ready to die in peace though in pain. He did not forget up to the last his Creator to whom, he knew, he owed so much. He kept on saying the word “patawad” (sorry) till the last few seconds of his life. It was not for my Lola, not for me, not for anybody else but for the Lord. He died asking the Lord’s forgiveness. I am sure of that.