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I never really thought about death. I mean, not really thought about it. I thought of dying, yes. But not the thing that follows that. The permanent state of being dead. I suppose I did indirectly. At the back of my mind. Subconsciously. Before my maternal grandpa died, I was so afraid of ghosts. Not that I’m not anymore. I still am, of course. I’m a big scaredy-cat. But after his death, I felt more…protected. I would get scared and think, ‘eh!…Lolo Tempul’s got my back‘, as if he was in some other dimension, karate-chopping ghosts on their necks. Somehow that thought comforted me, and I could sleep with the lights off.

But if I think of death directly, I can’t say exactly how I picture it. Because I do believe in Heaven, and many times my prayers would end with ‘take care of lolo, God.’ So yes, I picture him up there with the Big Guy I pray to. But I also picture him down here, hovering near us, haunting his room, watching all of us and chuckling at our antics the way he used to when he was still alive. And really, both scenarios warm my heart.

I suppose you’re wondering what brought this on. Oftentimes I write about passing…of pain, of wanting to escape. That is what I think of dying. But after reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, I’ve started thinking of the afterlife. Will I linger? Where? Will I haunt anyone? Or will I simply still exist without actually existing? Stuck in another room with one-sided mirrors for walls, always so close but never quite there. Will I long to be alive again? To be with the people I love? To touch again? To be warm again? Or will I simply relish the freedom that I felt eluded me during my living years?

Today is my grandpa’s birthday. My grandma, Lolo Tony (Lolo’s bestfriend/uncle but younger than him), and uncle went to visit him at the cemetery, which is really close to our house. So they came by and are actually here at the office now. The oldies shared some crazy Lolo stories.

Happy birthday Lolo! I miss you everyday. I hope you’re partying it up with the angels right now.

(But knowing him, he’s probably sitting in one cloud corner, doing his crosswords while the angels celebrate his birthday. Haha!)

Of all the old men out there that I would want as my grandfather, Clint Eastwood would have to be my first choice.

Why?

Because he’s grumpy, is REALLY old and still takes off his shirt. You know who else was like that? MY ACTUAL GRANDPA.

Whenever we see one of his movies, I tear up a little cos I remember my lolo. We watched Australia last night and they showed a preview of Gran Torino and I told my mom that I’ll probably cry a lot when we watch it because everything about that movie screams LOLO. After a while, my dad whispered to my mom: “He reminds me of your dad”.

He’s an American, artistic version of my loony grandad. Whom I still miss very much.

Today is my nephew/godson Migz’ 9th birthday. Incidentally, it’s also my grandpa’s 3rd year death anniversary. It’s weird that on one same day we’re both celebrating and mourning. At least I am. I’m still mourning for my grandpa. I miss him everyday and still think of him all the time.

Rogelio C. Gonzalez Feb. 1919 - Nov. 2005

He was 86 when he died, and he was suffering from a lot of illnesses. Cancer, pneumonia, etc. It was pretty much old age’s fault, it caught up to him. He was a strong man, a hard-headed veteran who would ride the bus and tricycles from Cainta to our house in San Juan just to get some newspapers. He was also a very smart man, always reading books and answering crossword puzzles. He wasn’t very strict with us, but occasionally, he’d joke about how my shorts look more like underwear and I guess that was his way of telling me to cover myself up. He was a very quiet man who mostly lived in his own world whenever we came over for parties. He had diabetes, but no one could make him stop drinking coke, eating ice cream, or if he couldn’t find any sweets, a spoonful of sugar or jam every once in a while. Hard-headed, I tell you.

The first few months after his death, I cried every night. And until now, any time I think of him and miss him, I start crying like a baby. I always tell myself, I should’ve hugged him more, I should’ve told him I loved him more. But after a while, I started dreaming about him. Random dreams that sometimes make no sense. In my dreams he’d rescue me and my sister from goons. He’d eat ice cream and hug me and apologize for something I don’t know. That was when I stopped crying every night. I figured it’s his way of ‘visiting’ me. I would give anything for just one last hug.

I have to stop now before I start crying in the office. We’re visiting his tomb after lunch, so…

So happy with the love of his life, my grandma

*Posted after lunch and said visit.

Sasha…

Is in her mid-20s. Is a girl. Loves to write. Loves taking pictures. Vents a lot. Finds her days too boring. Finds herself too sheltered. Wants to meet a faerie, for real. Swears a lot. Knows that's bad. Just might have too dirty a mind.

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