Mrs. Candelaria Del Mar, or Lola Inday, as she was fondly called, served as my nanny for a good ten years. I remember her being the only funny person in our household, since all of the other relatives who stayed in our house back then were quite a bit stern. Ha ha. She'd always make me laugh, and she doesn't force me to take naps. She became my fourth mother (my tita being the second, my grandmother from my mother's side being the third) and I became her youngest son, since her two children, by that time, had lives of their own.
Eleven years later, we heard that she was brought to Bahay ni Maria, a shelter home for the abandoned aged women and children located in Brgy. Sampiruhan, Calamba City. My family was blessed with free time last April 21, 2011 and so we arranged a visit to Bahay ni Maria.
Bahay ni Maria was founded in 1994 and was run by the Kalinga Foundation but today, the Missionary Sisters of Fatima have taken over care for the home as well as its occupants.
It was around one in the afternoon when we got there and one of the nuns accompanied us to this little hut where we'd get to meet Lola Inday. A few minutes of waiting and we finally saw her. I was really surprised that I was the only one that she could remember. I was fighting off tears when I hugged her. She was still bubbly and cracked a lot of jokes while we were talking to her. I needed to refresh her memory of who I was with that day because she kept on forgetting that I was with my mum, two aunts and RJ. We spent round two hours talking and when she started to feel sleepy, we decided to let her rest and go home. I left her with a couple of photos of me with her from years back, and also a couple of photos of the current me. Ha ha.
The photo above shows my mum (in yellow) two aunts (in blue and in white) and me with Lola Inday. I left Bahay ni Maria with a light feeling, but at the same time, with a heavy heart. I felt good that I was able to see Lola Inday once again, but was terribly heartbroken with the fact that her children had left her in such state. I promised myself that I won't let that happen to my mum. And that I'd make time to visit Lola Inday at least once a month.
But I guess I can't visit her anymore.
Lola Inday passed away just yesterday morning, May 2, 2011. She died of complications from her weak heart. I was shocked when a relative of ours posted on my Facebook wall that Lola Inday was already gone. I was just planning to go to Bahay ni Maria in a couple of weeks' time to hold a feeding program for their occupants. I may be too late to visit Lola Inday, but I sure have time left to help the others in Bahay ni Maria. I am now in the process of seeking help from friends and family so that we'd be able to make donations for the shelter home.
Lola Inday, thank you. Thank you for being with me and my family for such a long time. Thank you for treating me as one of your real kids. Thank you for all the memories. We love you! I love you, and I will always miss you!
Me and Lola Inday (1997)
For those who are interested in sending help to Bahay ni Maria, you may contact Sister Mac at 834-3217, or you can visit the home, located in Brgy. Sampiruhan, Calamba City, Laguna, Philippines.