My Lola Melba passed away last Saturday. She was the last surviving sibling of my maternal grandfather. I remember visiting her at home when I was younger. They had a couple of pet dogs, which is probably why those visits stick in my mind.
We both grew older. I would now see her mostly during family gatherings. When I came up to her for the customary pagmano she would delight me with an expected question (Do you already have a girlfriend?) or a frank observation (You gained weight). Spoken out of love, of course.
There was always an admirable grace in the way she carried herself – her wardrobe, manners, and speech. She exuded an effortless elegance that is rarely found nowadays. And not just during social occasions, but in everyday life as well.
Later in life, I would find myself reminding her of who I am or, more easily, who my parents are as we spoke. She moved a lot slower now, but the grace was still there. Even in the twilight of her years – through illness and (more frequent) hospital visits – she met life and, ultimately, death with the dignity that it deserved.
Until our next conversation, Lola Melba. Rest now.