June 9, 1916 â€“ January 9, 2006
My last surviving grandparent, Eugenia Santillana, passed away on Monday, January 9. Unlike my other grandparents, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her. She moved to the US from her native Philippines in 1980 and helped raise my sister and me for five years. After visiting California and returning to the Philippines for a brief period, she returned for a little while before moving permanently to California. The last few years of her life were difficult as she continued to suffer from a list of medical problems. She was admitted to a nursing home in 2005 and put on life support. By Monday, life support could no longer keep her going.
I have many fond memories of my grandmother. When she first came to live with my family, she already had some health problems. But that never made her stop smiling. She traveled with my family, always found time to do some exercising (even if she had to sit), managed to always cook, and sat outside to soak up some fresh air. But her accomplishments go further. I also learned that she survived the Japanese invasion during World War II, my grandfatherâ€™s untimely death in 1978, one daughterâ€™s death at an early age, and a dictatorial president (Marcos) for many decades. She managed to bring many of her children to the US, and she saw many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
As I helped lay her to rest, I couldnâ€™t help but notice that she was beloved by so many people. It was really sad to watch her casket lowered into the ground, but many of us also realize that her suffering was finally over. I am glad that I was able to see her and pay my final respects.
I admit that this blog is long overdue, but I dedicate it to my grandmother, her family, her friends, and everyone whose lives she touched. May she rest eternally in peace.