It kind of felt like I was looking at her for the first time. But in hindsight, it was really the first time I actually saw her, the whole her. I looked at her face and I saw everything she is, I saw the 88 years that she’s lived.
The crease on her forehead.
The wrinkles around her eyes and lips.
A couple of tiny dark dots scattered on the tip of her nose, which I found quite funny to be honest. It never crossed my mind that blackheads would still be a problem later, much later in life.
Her pale red lips that seems to have lost its color throughout the years. With her dentures on a metal tray somewhere, her lips had sunk in a little.
The one thing that stood out to me though was that the kindness that people see and feel the moment they meet her has disappeared. She looked rigid, uncongenial even. I realized then that it has always been her eyes that gave comfort to people in despair, strength to people who were about to give up and love to people who’ve had too little of it.
But her eyes were closed. I couldn’t see the comfort, I could see neither strength nor love. All I could see at that moment was my grandmother in her most stripped down entirety.
She’s old. And God is she beautiful.
Hers is the kind of beauty that brings tears to my eyes and a knife to my heart because as I looked at her face, I finally accepted the truth I’ve been ignoring these past few years.
She’s not going to live forever.
If I’m being completely honest with myself, ten more years with her would be too much to ask.
I remember this line I read from David Levithan’s Every Day. It goes, “I’ve known this for awhile, but you can know something for years without it really hitting you.”
Last night, it hit me. Hard.
When you hear news that your grandmother slipped and fell, and she couldn’t stand up. When you see your grandmother being carried into an ambulance. When you hear the siren of an ambulance and you know that your grandmother is the one on the gurney. When you see her in the ER inside a room labeled “Trauma 1.” When you see your grandmother the way I saw mine.
It hits you.
I was about to completely lose it when she opened her eyes.
I asked her, “Ama, do you know you have strands of pink hair?”
Just a few moments ago, I noticed she had a couple of strands of pale pink hair, resting on her forehead. At first, I panicked and thought it was blood. It wasn’t. Just pink hair.
She smiled the most beautiful smile and said, “I don’t know how that happened. I woke up this morning and it was like that already.”
And, I don’t know, I knew then that everything’s going to be okay. Not good. Definitely not great. Just okay. One of the many things I’ve learned from my grandmother is that when things are bad and when things are good, everything’s going to be okay. And in the end, okay is enough.
Again, I ask for prayers. If you’re not the praying type, thoughts are just as appreciated. For my grandmother, because she’ll be undergoing surgery tomorrow and a difficult road to recovery after that. And also for my country and its people, who’ve been severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan.