I know I'm not normally that noticeable when I'm online but, I thought I'd make a post as to why I have been gone anyway...
I found out my grandmother had a stroke that put her into a coma. She then had a heart attack when she was on her way to the hospital. She lacked oxygen to her brain for about 30+ minutes. The human brain can't survive without oxygen for longer than 3 minutes. My mother (who was already in the Philippines with my grandmother) contacted me saying that my grandma had gone into a coma.
I was always close with my grandma. Naturally, I dropped everything I was doing and got on a flight to go see my grandma. During the flight, I tried to tell myself, she'll be fine. Grandma's 79 years old. She's a strong woman.
It wasn't until I entered the ICU that I saw just how badly the stroke/heart attack had left her. She was laying there in a bed with a respirator; incapable of speaking or seeing. The most she could do was hear and nod her head. Interestingly, until I showed up with my sister, she hadn't been noted to have been able to nod her head. I guess she was more responsive to us.
The following days were surreal. Being in my grandmother's home just felt strange. The love and liveliness of her home was absent. It was as if her absence soaked all the life from the house during the days we stayed there.
After about 3 days, my mother and my grandma's sister made the decision to follow my grandma's last wishes to take her off the respirator. I know the last thing she wanted to do was spend her remaining time on this Earth riddled with tubes and wiring.
Before the morning came to follow out her preset request, we were shocked to discover that my grandma passed away on her own. My guessing is my grandma felt that she wanted to leave on her own. She was always like that; going to church before us, going to the mall before us, etc. On top of that, I don't think she wanted to leave my mom (her daughter) and my aunt (her sister) with the burden of taking her life (even if that was her will) in a way it was a last blessing from her.
That same morning we made preparations for her wake. In Filipino culture, the burial preparations are made literally the same day that the person passes as to not delay their transition into the afterlife. The only part I didn't really expect was the wake to last 2-3 days.
This past week, we had the funeral and burial which were both very hard on both me and my entire family. It wasn't until I heard the priests thoughts of my grandmother that I realized just how generous of a woman she actually was. When she retired from being a teacher in the US, she returned to the Philippines where she donated a large sum of money to rebuild her neighborhood's church which was destroyed during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo back in the 90s. When she saw that the parish was holding masses in a small one room shack, she personally took it upon herself to have her hometown's church rebuilt.
On top of that, when I heard the priest mention how my grandma would always came back to the Philippines after her trip to the US with shoes and candy for all the children in the neighborhood, I was speechless. I never thought much about all the times I drove her to Kmart to buy that stuff so hearing the priest actually mention that as one of the things he always remembered of her almost brought me to tears (not that losing my grandma hadn't already had me in tears).
During the burial, the funeral procession extended to almost over a mile. In fact, the entire parish, the entire neighborhood (the entire population of the street she lived on), as well as local government officials all attended. I always looked up to my grandma and knew she helped a lot of people but, I didn't expect there to be so many people that they were still leaving the chapel when we arrived at the cemetery.
Even though I needed to get back home to return to my everyday life, I just wish I could have spent another week in the Philippines to support my mother who had to stay there for a few more weeks. Being as close to my grandmother as she was to her as her daughter, I know what she's going through. My mom has been in the Philippines taking care of my grandma since February and saw my grandma's health genuinely improving. In fact, the week prior to going into a coma, my mom took my grandma out for dinner to celebrate her improving health. The sad part was the one day my mom decided to take some time to treat herself by going scuba diving was my mom's birthday. That day just happened to be the same day that my grandma had her stroke. She insisted that she came along with her but, my grandma said they could just celebrate when she came back home. Sadly, that didn't happen.
To be completely honest, we thought my grandma had at least 10 more years on her but, I guess life had different plans.
Overall, the entire trip to the Philippines and my arrival back hope last night were all draining both physically and emotionally especially since I had to say goodbye to my grandmother who has been in my life all 23 (going on 24 this April) years of my life.
Of course the one time I have to leave to a 3rd world country would be the time the Gorillaz decide to fire all cylinders and release not one but, several new tracks. I still haven't even heard them yet either.
Once I've taken some time to recuperate, I'll get to checking out the new content and updating the pages on the wiki accordingly.
I know this was a bit more serious of an update but, that's how life is sometimes. We just need to appreciate the time we have and the people that surround us because sometimes, the moment you take it all for granted may be the last.