This past Tuesday (January 10, 2017) I lost my grandpa.
I originally had a different idea for my blog post today, but instead, I wanted to dedicate this post to my grandpa. It’s been tough, but I hope that what I’m learning during this time will help some of you.
My grandpa lived a long life. He was 94 when he passed. Those 94 years were filled with ups and downs, but he got through everything he was faced with and managed to pass down his knowledge to me and the rest of my family.
As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I was blessed enough to have them help my parents raise me. Some of my earliest and most vivid memories are of him and my grandma. From helping me with my homework, teaching me life skills, going on walks, cooking and eating meals together, watching TV together (his favorite show was Walker, Texas Ranger), and especially worshipping God together.
He was a man of God, my prayer warrior. I remember seeing him set aside a part of his day, everyday, to read his Bible. Even when he became weak, he never let that get in the way of his time with the Lord. He taught me about different stories in the Bible and when I learned about those stories again in Sunday school, I was more than happy to share them with him. His faith in God was strong and I looked up to him for that. Whenever he experienced trials, big or small, I saw him pray and give all glory to God. When I was sick and needed to take medicine (which I absolutely hated), him and my grandma would sit with me as I took my medicine and would pray for my healing.
Music was a big part of his life, along with his brothers and sisters. My dad and his siblings would tell me stories about how my grandpa would get together with his siblings and they would play different instruments and sing together. He was musically inclined. He loved playing his guitar, but loved it even more when my grandma would sing worship songs while he played. I’m so glad that he has passed the love of music to his children, letting us all enjoy it together.
When I started learning to play the ukulele in school, I would show and play for him what I had learned. To my surprise, each time I learned something new, he picked up his guitar and managed to play the same thing by ear, even after only hearing me play it once or twice. I thought he was so cool for knowing how to play by ear. One day I asked him how he learned to do that, and he told me “It’s something God has blessed me with, basang. Ask God to show you what your blessings are and be sure to use them.”
In elementary school, all my friends knew who my grandpa was and they were always so happy to greet him. Everyday, regardless if he was feeling well or not, my grandpa never failed to walk me to school in the mornings and to pick me up and walk me home in the afternoons. When I went into middle school, he would walk me to the bus stop and stay with me until one of my friends came to wait for the bus with me. He made sure I was always on time, and until this day, I’ve made it a habit to be on time.
Education was also something I learned to value because of my grandparents. They constantly told me “Make sure you study hard, basang” whenever they saw me doing homework. I never felt pressured to get straight A’s, but instead they taught me that as long as I try my best, everything else will follow. When I would get an award at school, whether it was for making the honor roll, principal’s list, student of the month, or even having a perfect attendance award, he and my grandma would take pride in seeing those awards.
As I got older, of course my classes and homework got harder. I remember being frustrated with my math homework one day because I just couldn’t get the right answer. (The answer key was in the back of my textbook.) Seeing my frustration, my grandpa got his reading glasses and took a look at my work. Then what happened next pushed me to try even harder. With a saddened look on his face, he took off his glasses and said, “I don’t know how to do this one, basang. I never had the chance to learn this when I was in school.” We shared a moment of silence as I thought about how bad he felt because for the first time, he couldn’t help me. He then reminded me as he always did, “This is why you need to study hard. Me and Mama didn’t get this far in our schooling. You will go far, but you need to remember to try your best and seek God.” After that, I did my work and after a few tries, got to the correct answer.
My grandpa never had the things I had growing up, actually, he never had the chance to have what I had. Yet, that never stopped him from giving selflessly. He always made sure to reward me for good grades, he always had a gift for me on my birthday and Christmas, and he was constantly giving to the rest of my family. He never expected anything in return, a simple “thank you” and a hug would always be more than enough to show him how much I appreciated him.
He lived a great, rich life. Maybe he wasn’t rich in money, but he was definitely rich in knowledge, faith, and family.
It breaks my heart that he is physically gone, and I will miss him dearly. But now that his physical life here on earth is done, he started his everlasting life in heaven with the Lord. No more pain, no more suffering.
I find comfort in knowing exactly where he is. I know that his last breath here on earth led to Jesus welcoming him into heaven with open arms. I know that now he’s in heaven, with my grandma, his siblings, and his loved ones who have gone before him. It’s because of his faith that I know I will be able to see him again one day.
To everyone reading this, I want to leave you with this last thought:
Life is short, you never know when someone’s time will be up.
Remember to show and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.
I love you, Papa. I promise to continue to work hard and make you and Mama proud. Thank you for all that you’ve done for our family and for all that you’ve taught me. You will never be forgotten.
In Loving Memory of
Bonifacio Fabian Dadulla
May 15, 1922 – January 10, 2017