move along or enter, if you wish
i got a text from my mom today telling me that my Auntie Ne (my great aunt on my mom’s side/my mom’s dad’s sister) is currently in rehab because she suffered a stroke a week ago. aside from my initial anger that our family put off calling my mom for a week, i panicked. i love my Auntie Ne like a Lola. i remember when i was 8 or 9 and (long story short) a “family” member in the Philippines threatened to call immigration on my family. that same night, we left our life behind in Illinois and hopped a Greyhound towards California. she took in all 7 of us: my parents, my sisters, my Lola, my Lola Sianing (another great aunt), and me. she took care of us for a whole month in her small home, ensuring we all felt comfortable and more importantly, we felt safe. for this alone, she has always been a superhero to me.
i haven’t seen her since i was 13 and went to California with my parents for my cousin’s baby’s baptism. i’m 21 now, so it’s been 8 years since i’ve seen her. my family is pretty isolated from our relatives in the U.S. so we don’t see them very often.
hearing about her shook me up. it sounds awful, but i don’t usually care to call relatives because i never know what to say to them. i’m not really that close with my cousins who are my age, and i don’t have anything in common with my older, married cousins or my cousins who are children. my mom sent me Auntie Ne’s room phone number so i could call her, and i did with no hesitation. we were only on the phone for about 2 minutes (i didn’t want to tire her out) but that was more than enough time for both of us to break down crying. i couldn’t think of what to say other than that i miss her and i love her, and we both agreed that when she gets better we would see each other.
today reminded me of something that happened in 2007, when i was about to enter my junior year of high school. i spent 3 weeks at UW-Madison for a summer program and whenever i would talk to my parents on the phone, they would tell me that when i got back we would take a road trip down south to Georgia to visit my Lola Sianing. she lived with us when we moved to the U.S. and basically helped raise me (she took care of my sisters & I when my parents were at work all day), but after my Lola/her sister passed away in September 2002, she moved in with family in Louisiana to be with another sister and more family. it’d been too long since we’d seen her.
i got home from Wisconsin overjoyed to see my family. the next morning, Carla told me Lola Sianing had passed away.
i don’t want this to happen again.