For my grandfather

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I had every intention to write my review of “The Hunger Games” and discuss how I felt like a proper Capitol citizen with my intense love of the movie/book series.

However…

I received a phone call from my dad shortly after I finished lunch to tell me that my last surviving grandparent, my grandfather (whom we affectionately called “Lolo”) passed away after a long battle with cancer.

My grandfather was a veteran of World War II and I felt it would be silly to write about fighting as a game when he fought for his life and the lives of many Filipinos within the jungles of the Philippines. He never spoke about it much, but I wouldn’t expect him to. From what I gathered, he was a guerrilla fighter for the Filipino army against the Japanese who invaded their homeland. My dad described to me the horrible acts of violence the Japanese committed when they laid siege to Manila, the capital of the Philippines. From that, I can only imagine what terrible things he saw and, even then, it wouldn’t even begin to capture the truth. I like to imagine him jumping out of the dense jungle, taking out a large unit of Japanese soldiers, kicking ass and whatnot, before disappearing back into the jungle to attack the next group of enemies threatening his homeland.

As my grandfather, he has taken care of me since I was born. He was a father of three girls so he was an expert when it came to me. I’m ashamed to admit that I did not appreciate him as much as I should have, but I was young and it took me 19 years to fully appreciate the kind of man that he was. I spent a summer with him and my aunt a couple of years ago. We didn’t talk much, except for a few formalities, but it was through the silence that I felt I connected with him the most. I felt like we would express our love for each other through a single stare and a smile. We knew what the other was like and we didn’t try to change each other. Instead, we lived in perfect harmony for those few months, making breakfast and watching “The Price Is Right” everyday. Occasionally, I would take him to the store to buy lotto tickets and we would joke that he’d get enough money for a Mustang and I would drive him around it in everyday. We enjoyed pretending we would be rich and famous one day and it made each car ride fun.

I could go into a lot of details about the kind of man he is and add many little anecdotes, but I don’t think any of those words would properly describe him. He was the best grandfather a girl like me could ask for.

I’ll finish this post with one short but fun story about him during Christmas two years ago:

The cancer was already in Stage 3 and he was taking a lot of medications. My mom and aunt (his two surviving daughters) were very strict about what he could and could not drink. One of the biggest no-nos was alcohol. Up until this point, my grandfather enjoyed a small glass of whiskey now and then. Jack Daniels was his favorite. My dad, who also enjoyed Jack Daniels, went up to him one day and poured a small bit into a glass of apple cider my grandfather was drinking. “It’s Christmas,” my dad said with a wink. My grandfather chuckled and silently thanked him. My dad then put the bottle on the table while he went to go help my mother with something. After checking that the coast was clear, my grandfather reached out and poured more whiskey into his cider. My brother and I watched silently. He looked back at us, smiled and put his finger to his lips as he set the bottle quietly back where it was. My mom and aunt were none the wiser.

Rest In Peace Casiano Delapa Aloyon.

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