I never had grandfathers.

Some people are longing for their mother’s or father’s love. Am I the only one in the world who is longing for a grandfather’s love?

Mama’s father died when I was a kid. I have no memories of him. I can’t even remember his face. I can only recognise him through photos. I was the first and last granddaughter that he had. Papa said that he was strict when he was alive. When Papa asked him to marry my mother, Papa just dropped off the words quickly but Lolo (grandfather in Filipino) did not say anything straightaway. There was a moment of silence and freezing stare from Lolo. How was that? Hahaha! One day, when Papa was swinging my handmade hammock, it accidentally threw me up in the air. He said that he was scared that he did not have a chance to catch me. Not because I was hurt, but because of what Lolo could do to him. Poor me, yeah? They say that Lolo liked reading newspapers and listening to news from the radio all day. He loved smoking too.

On the other hand, Papa’s father died when I was… 16 or 17? I’m unsure, aren’t I? I saw him. I know his face. But I can’t remember the sound of his voice. I grew up in my mother’s place. And when we moved to Papa’s place, Lolo wasn’t there anymore. He lived in the other province with his family. Yes, Lolo and Lola (grandmother in Filipino) were separated. Anyway, they say that he was strict too. Do grandfathers normally strict? His children feared him. Whenever he was coming home, everyone was trying to do the house chores and make themselves busy. His voice was enough for everyone to listen. When he called someone, one call was enough. Just once. That was how firm he was. He was a tailor when he was alive. I heard that he was a musician too. He was a member of our town’s band which was famous and in-demand for every festival. Maybe that’s why some of us are musically inclined. I can’t remember that we had a conversation. Whenever I see him, I just take his hand and touch it to my forehead. It’s a Filipino tradition that shows the respect of young people to the elderly. I have no much to say about him. He was a man of few words.

So, why did I say that I never had grandfathers? Of course, there’s no such thing as no origin. But the point is, I never experienced to be scolded by a grumpy old man. I never had a chance to be asked to buy them smoke or a drink. I never heard them talk about their childhood. I have never been able to ask how life was in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and so on. Did they experience the world war 2? I want to hear their argument about politics. I want to ask how they courted the Lolas. So many questions left that only them who could give answers. Unfortunately, they were gone, too soon.

I always wonder, what does it feel like to have a grandfather? I wish I could turn back time and tell them, “Hey man, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke too much, take care of yourself, don’t die too soon, let’s grow old together, let me carry you when you can’t walk any longer.” But no one I could tell anymore. Nevertheless, they will always be a part of me. Their blood is running into me which I would be forever thankful.

Bless thy souls.

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