Last week, my last surviving grandparent also succumbed to his failing health. He’d been confined for almost a month at the intensive care unit of a hospital in Manila and since then been bedridden in his home for weeks. He died on the evening of July 22.
That weekend, after my last class on Saturday afternoon, I drove to our upland southern Cavite hometown of Amadeo (by myself, for the first time), with my cousin, to join the rest of the extended family at the wake and interment of Lolo Roming.
I was, to be honest, never really that close to my grandfather. I would always remember him as a stiff person who doesn’t talk much. Though, at the same time, I don’t know any other man who is as sentimental and who cries as much as him. A peculiar mix of characteristics, I think. In his last years, he would often cry on the spot upon seeing relatives visiting him or cry even in the middle of conversations among his children.
He was, for around a dozen years, an elementary school teacher in Tagaytay. He is largely remembered by many, however, as Col. Villanueva, Tagaytay’s Chief of Police for almost three decades. (It escapes me how one becomes a chief of police straight from being an elementary school teacher, I still have to ask my elder relatives). One time we were buying fruits from among the elder fruit vendors in Tagaytay, and it was quite amusing how the women suddenly remarked how my father looked like hepe, for indeed he was Col. Villanueva’s son.
Despite the heavy rains that day, the ceremony continued with the family, relatives and townspeople finally walking the casket to the town cemetery in the afternoon.
On the picture above is my father, myself, and my grandfather, during my first birthday.