Wednesday, 14 November 2012


My parent's backyard in Victoria

This was the week that I lost my grandma. She taught me the value of family and instilled in me the importance of kindness and humour. I loved her dearly and I miss her. These are my family's memories of her that we compiled together while getting ready for her funeral. Sometimes when I think of her I read this list.


Jeanette: As a mother she never yelled or hit her children, she never spanked and never raised her voice. Her patience and love set a great example of motherhood to her whole family.

Michelle: When she would stitch her name and date into all of her towels and handkerchiefs. She also made us curtains in San Diego and stitched her name into them. When she would dip pandesal into her coffee - that was my first taste of coffee. How she would say "Uting nang kabayo!" when she was startled. When she left her false teeth in a glass cup!

Jenny: Giving us candy from her drawers and when we curled her hair for Jay's wedding.

Bert: When I left the Philippines she changed my name to "Bert" from "Norbie". She said I needed a new name for Canada. She stitched "Bert" in red thread into all of my underwear and handkerchiefs - she gave me handkerchiefs because she thought I might sweat in Canada!

Jennifer: She was always holding on to her purse! It always had to be next to her and she was always checking that it was near by.

My dad, Efren: When she made kilawan and suman. When I was a kid she would warn me to be careful of the tikbalang so I never wandered or went out alone at night.

My mom, Josefa: I have lots of kitchen gadgets and utensils that she gave to me when she was still able to shop, when I'm in our kitchen I'm reminded of her.

Domingo: When grandma made adobo Mom (Naomi) would say "Not too much garlic!" but grandma would always sneak in extra garlic because she knew we liked it.

Jay: Once I had to wake up really early to drive grandma and her friends to the bus station. When she came back she bought me a black t-shirt with a wolf on it!

My brother, Marino: When she would sneak me off to her room for candy and money!

Nico: Sneaking candy to us, she would make sure the door was closed and then pull out her stash of candy from underneath the bed.

Takuyo: Grandma would always hide her little treasures and she would bring me up to her room to show them to me - her new nail polish or little teddy bears and then she would say - "Don't tell Naomi!"

Diady: When she came to Hawaii with me, we went sightseeing and we enjoyed everything together. There were so many good memories.

Walter: When grandma and I were roommates she would tell me bedtime stories.

Eloisa: When she first came to visit me in the Philippines I was in grade five and she told me that someday she'd bring me to Canada - and now I am here.

My sister, Chantelle: She was supposed to dress me in my uniform for school but she forgot my white collared shirt so she only dressed me in my tunic and my tie!

Jun: All of her baking and home cooking, her kilawin, her dinuguan and especially her espasol.

Haydee: She loved seeing Madison and Maddox - she always remembered their names and it made her so happy to see them.

Evelyn: She taught me how to make espasol, Jun's favourite dish. My best memories of her were with my mom, they were such good friends and they would do so much together - socialize and giggle and tell jokes.

Perla: During the war, once when I was a baby there was a warning and everyone had to run to the bomb shelter but Grandma forgot me in the house! Grandma would say, good thing the house wasn't bombed! She loved to tell that story.

Naomi: During her last birthday we had breakfast at Denny's next to the casino, we ended up staying at the casino until 11:30 at night! When I kept asking her if she wanted to go home she kept saying, "later, later!" Grandma was never tired when she was at the casino.

My boyfriend, Jules: When I was at grandma's 95th birthday they told the story about how grandma's suman was so good that all the neighbourhood boys would come over to try to get some! When I first met her she told me how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren she had, she was so proud.

Mine: Grandma and her Scratch & Wins! The way we would try to get grandma to smile for pictures and she would smile afterward (almost always AFTER the picture was already taken) and laugh. When I showed her my iPhone and took a picture of us and she looked at it afterward and said, "I'm so good-looking!"

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