Love and my grandparents

by erika

Being with a man who loves you more than you love him makes for a happy marriage, my grandmother, Nanay Osie, often told me.

Nanay would then tell me about a rich suitor who had become a doctor and whom she had turned down in favor of poor Tatay Endong. She chose him because she felt his love and never once regretted it in the 52 years they’ve been married.

On Thursday, Tatay suffered from a mild stroke. When I visited the hospital on Monday, Tatay was recovering and Nanay was quite cheerful, even joking when Tatay drank coconut water with a straw. Aba, asensado na si Endong.

But she didn’t stay long. My uncle told me she would just drop by from time to time, especially in the morning.

That night, I found her sitting on a rocking chair with the television on, a roll of tissue at her side. She was crying.

“We have been together for 52 years. He’s my hand and foot. I should be the one in the hospital. He can’t stand it, he’s afraid,” she said through tears.

Tatay had refused to go to the hospital even as his left side had gone numb. He even reprimanded Nanay for being too hysterical. Two neighbors tried to carry him and he cried in frustration so my brother asked them to put him down.

My brother calmed him down and explained that going to the hospital didn’t mean that his condition was serious, that he needed to be checked by a doctor lest it gets worse. Finally, he agreed.

Apparently, it was Tatay’s second stroke. The CT scan showed that there had been a previous rupture and the blood clot had dried up the doctors couldn’t tell when it happened. Tatay endured the first stroke without anyone knowing.

Nanay and Tatay had sold newspapers and empty bottles to junk shops. Nanay had cleaned comfort rooms for a living while Tatay drove  a tricycle. That’s how hard their life was. But they stuck it out together and raised five children who now take turns looking after them.

This is a trying time but I have no doubt that their love for each other will remain steadfast as it has always been. I understand Nanay’s advice on marriage. I felt it from Tatay’s patience with her. I saw it in how Tatay did her bidding. I heard it from their giggles at night.

I hope Tatay fully recovers from the stroke. They have surpassed a lot of things and I just hope Tatay and Nanay will share more  happy and loving years together. They deserve it.

My grandparents, together with their five children, on their golden wedding two years ago.