Hi, my name is Christine Pongyan and living in Rizal, Philippines.
I have a grandmother, Lola Adelina Pongyan, a sweet grandma, always caring and she always put her family and friends first before herself. She loves taking care of her grandchildren including me. She lives in the province of Pandan, Antique. Whenever we visit them in the province, she always cook the best food for us. I remember, I have never tasted a "Mongo" dish better than hers . Lola Adelina is a humble farmer. She and Lolo Felipe raised my uncle, my father and my aunt with the help of the ricefields. Lola Adelina even at her 70s still harvest rice grain to help my aunt and my cousins who live with her after my grandpa died and because we can also only help them financially at the most we can.
I transferred school from Manila to grandma's place and stayed there for two years. I have never grown up with a grandparent with me because they lived far away. Those two years we like decades. I didn't know that it was great to be able to live with your grandparents. They will teach you secrets and great techniques we call now life hacks. They wont scold you like your parents did and instead they spoil you with your wants. The best part as well are the stories of their childhood and the Philippine history during the war. With grandma, I experienced the simplicity and peaceful living in the province very far from the life in the city. However life there in the province also includes hardship as farming is the only way of living and is no easy job as I was able to experience it myself. Farmers work in the field before sunrise, until very hot noon and just finish at almost sunset. There's a lot of challenges from rice seedling to stalks because of pests, weather, expenses and lack of water. You cannot guarantee the harvest if it will give extra income to you but most of the time, they're down with paying debts than earning income. The harvest is almost always not sufficient for the next cropping and so farmers cannot move out of debts.
Lola Adelina stopped from doing farming because her vision started to be blurry last year. We saved money just good for her and aunt to accompany her to go here in Rizal. Grandma was so happy that she will finally be able to ride a plane and be with us for a short while. After that two years in the province, I went back here in Rizal and have not seen and been with Lola Adelina for more than a decade and she kept saying she missed us and want us to visit her. September 2017, Lola Adelina's wish came true and we finally been with her again and spent a month vacation. Lola Adelina was so happy telling us about her first plane ride and that how she wanted to see our faces. Unfortunately, she was unable to recognize us because she lost almost her full eyesight because of cataract. She was only able to see light and some shapes but her entire vision was blurred. I have saved money for a long time to have her visit us here in Rizal near Manila so she can have a bit of vacation and also see the major changes in this place but we were not expecting that her cataract was matured already. But time flies and Lola Adelina needs to go back to province, and it breaks our heart to see her cry and wishing to be with us more. With a broken heart, I watched Lola as she kept wiping her tears as she entered the boarding gate of the airport to go back to province. Ten months and we were calling and checking how she was. Sending her money to help them when we can. Saying life was still hard there but still surviving. Grandma cannot walk by herself because of poor vision and needs constant assistance. I promised Grandma that in the future once we have enough money, we will have her cataract removed and we will have a car so she don't need to walk that long.
Just a few hours ago, I received a call from aunt and uncle that grandma was feeling bad and told them to look after her because we are an ocean away. Another call came in from them and said that they rushed grandma to the hospital. And another call came in again from them, and was the saddest moment of my life. Because after a few minutes, it was not a good news. Uncle said that grandma is gone. I didn't understand at first and I thought that he meant gone was because we're having a really bad weather because of typhoons and a lot of low pressure area that made the signal connection lost. But uncle confirmed grandma was dead. I was like paralyzed and tears started to fall from my eyes. I still cannot accept and believe she left us. She just turned 82 yo last June 26. Grandma was discharged from the hospital because they don't have money for funeral and so are we. Grandma's cold body was sent back home and was wrapped in a blanket. It was so heartbreaking that she don't have a proper funeral service and was just sent back home and stay in a blanket when she deserve a proper funeral service. And that we all can't go to her funeral as the fare is expensive.
The all-in funeral service is $1000 as there are very limited and far funeral homes. Additional other expenses would be $200 and airfare for me to go there because my entire family can't, is about $150. We're looking for ways to fulfill the funeral service expenses. We don't have that money for it that's why I thought this would be another good way for Lola's urgent need. We are knocking to your hearts of any amount that you can give. We will deeply appreciate it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.