For my Grandfather


I wrap my fingers around a string

Holding on to the memory of your smile.

Your laughter still rings in my head

Your booming voice still throbs in my heart.

I used to tell you I loved you,

A grin would break upon your face and

You’d pat me hard on the back.

I still feel the jolt of that pat.

The head of the table is now empty,

So is the living room chair no one dared sit on.

I will no longer see you waving goodbye to me

As I drive away from your home.

My fingers clasp the string more tightly

Remembering the warmth that emanated

From such a stern demeanor.

Only you could carry that off.

Words are tangled in my heart.

Nothing can capture the breadth of sentiment I have for you.

The memories are too many,

The memories are too few.

I will miss you deeply Wowo.

I let go of the string and watch my silver balloon

Soar into the sky

Finding it join many others of its kind.

They rise among the clouds,

Into the hands of little girls

Whose angelic voices only you can hear

Whose angelic voices sing your welcome.

I can no longer see you

nor the silver balloons.

But I rejoice in your peace.

I rejoice in your journey back home.

My Wowo and Maymee Col. Jose G. Ignacio. Feb. 4, 1922 – Oct. 15, 2004. Crossword puzzles. Statistics. Thick novels. Brick games. College blue books. The Book of Knowledge. Dolce. Pancit with tokwa. Cheesy garlic bread with extra garlic. An extra loaf of that one too. A glass of brandy. A bottle of Pale Pilsen. The biannual Carlos Primero. Big, bold handwriting. His walk outpacing all others. The blaring television. The sound of a rusty typewriter. I shared your love for a lot of things. And now nothing will ever be the same again.

Wowo making `mano' to my then 2-year-old cousin Maxine. I was asked to write a short piece for his service but I’m still unable to get my thoughts together. Maybe later, maybe this afternoon, when my thoughts are more organized. I’ve cried all there is to cry I think. I’ve spoken to my Grandmother, who sounded so broken. She used to speak of being lost if ever Wowo goes away. It must be devastating for her and I pray that she is given the strength to get through this.

Wowo eating one of his favorites... siling labuyo! His face got so red after this! He went peacefully and bravely. The best has come for him. I am happy that he is finally free of pain. He’s in Heaven now, with his friends and siblings who have been preparing his welcome party. I pray that he is resting well. I am out of words now. The silence of tears overwhelms me and my heart aches with each memory. I worry about the piece I have to write for the service but I know the words will come again. For now, they fail me. I hope he knows how much I loved him. I think he does. I will miss you, Wowo.

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