One of my earliest memories I have as a child is of my Opo (Pronounced Op-po). She was my grandma and had passed away a long time ago, but the memories of her still lives on in both my heart and mind. I remember being a silly little child that always wanted to play and tried my hardest to get the attention of any of my family members. My Opo was my target for that day in our old house that we lived in for a while. It wasn’t the prettiest, but we had a roof over our heads, and I was lucky to live with so many of my family members at the time. I remember my Opo was doing laundry. She did it when no one else could and as a child, I never realized how much she did for us. With her being old, it was harder to do things that other people could do, but she made do and as a child, I was staring at her in awe. Both in amazement and confusion because I didn’t understand how important it was for her to be doing that. Instead, I wanted to just play. So, I fathered up all my stuffed animals and brought them to the living room where she was on the couch doing laundry; folding, unfolding and refolding. She was diligently working while I had a secret plan to disrupt that. I bent down and crawled to one side of the couch behind the armrest and placed my stuffed animals neatly in a line. What happened next was the highlight of this memory.
I took one of my stuffed animals and chucked it right at her face. I remember looking up and seeing her look so angry at me, but also with a hint of amusement. I mean, could she really be mad at a child? No. Instead, she retaliated against me and that’s when the war started. It began when she tossed a pair of blue jeans at me. It hit me right in the head, but I didn’t cry. It wasn’t heavy or hard or anything like that. It was just a pair of pants. It made me happy in a strange way because it meant that I was getting attention and as a child, I loved the attention of my family members. I threw more stuffed animals at her as she threw more clothes at me. It was a battle against stuffed animals versus fresh laundry. If you asked me as a child who won that battle, I would have totally said myself, but if you asked me now, I would say we both won. I would say we both won because we had fun and to me as an adult now, it was the purest form of love between two family members.
It was a memory I’ll never forget. I’ll always remember the aftermath of the battle between us. She gave me one of her, to me, famous Opo kisses. Opo kisses are where you don’t actually kiss the person’s cheek. Instead, you smell it really hard or really soft depending on what you want to do. It’s a well-known thing in my family to give Opo kisses in memory of her. I miss her a lot; writing this made me remember the memory even more and how there were little details that I’ll never forget. Like the way, her skin was old and wrinkly, but still capable of doing mundane tasks, the way when she smiled her eyes would gain a few crinkles in the corners, and how when she gave me Opo kisses I felt so loved.
The day I heard she passed away was a shock to my entire system. I overheard my parents talking about it and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I rushed upstairs to the bathroom and closed the door. I still remember the words I said to myself while my breathing was quickening.
“This isn’t real. This isn’t real.”
My heartbeat was pounding so much it felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. I continued to talk to myself.
“It’s not true. I misheard. It’s. Not. True.”
Sadly, it was true. My Opo had passed away. I remember crying in the bathroom staring at the mirror in front of me watching myself cry. I remember wiping the tears off my face and heading downstairs where my parents sat me down and told me that my Opo had passed away. I tried to hold back the tears, but I failed. I let the tears go down my face as I hugged my mom who was crying just as hard as I was.
That was one of my earliest memories was with my Opo and one of the last. I don’t remember too much about her such as what she liked, disliked, but I do remember how loving she was. How she had a kind soul and that transferred to every single one of my family members when she passed away. She will always be with us. She will always be with me.