Celebrating Life at 95

Our family recently celebrated the 95th birthday of my grandmother who we all lovingly call "Lola Mama". Together with my aunts, uncles and cousins, we planned a special party for her to commemorate this milestone. After all, to be able to mark 95 years with relatively good health is certainly reason to celebrate. 

Being very simple, conservative, and frugal, it came as no surprise to us that my lola would oppose our party plans. The minute she found out that a hotel reservation was made as the venue of her birthday lunch, she immediately called us to cancel the reservation. "Don't fuss over my birthday," and "I'm too old to have a party,"  she repeatedly told us. She would call every night to talk us out of our plans and even threatened us that she wouldn't show up for her own party! Lol. But we insisted, cajoled, and sweet talked, and we eventually got our way.

We knew she was finally convinced because she started nodding in agreement when my sister told her that it is a blessing to be 95 years old with good health and excellent memory, and that we would like to honor this blessing with a special gathering of family and friends. My lola still goes to Sunday mass, spends time walking around and tending to her garden in the morning, keeps herself abreast with current events, and remembers everyone's birthdays too! What an inspiration!

All in the family! 25 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. I hope I live long enough to see my great grandkids. But not too soon, Bianca, okay?!? :)

Beautiful inside and out, that's how I would describe my lola. She takes good care of herself and it shows. She always gets compliments for her beautiful skin. See our funny Instagram post here.

My lola got married at the very young age of 19 to my then 33 year old grandfather. She tells me that she wasn't the least bit interested in my lolo because he was so many years older than her. But her family convinced her, saying he was a good man and the right one for her. My lolo was smitten by her and they eventually fell in love, got married, and were blessed with nine children.

They didn't always have an easy life especially during the war when food was scarce, but my lolo worked hard and was a good provider. With the help and support of my lola, they were able to send their children to good schools and they are now all professionals.

My lola became a widow in 1995 and in the subsequent years, lost her three children (including my mom), one after the other to the big C. It was a dark time for our family, but it was my lola's strength and strong faith that kept us united. I myself can't even imagine the thought of losing my own child, but she bore it all with grace and acceptance, and never lost her zest for life. Despite everything, she remained grateful and at peace. Not once did I see anger, resentment or fear. She is truly an inspiration.

I am so happy that her birthday went well and so thankful that we were able to come together as a family to honor her and let her know and feel how special she is to all of us.

We love you so much, Lola Mama!

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