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It just occurred to me some helpless-attempts-of-trying-to-empty-my-mind-so-I-can-sleep moments ago: I miss my Dida. So bad. So this one’s for her. How I remember her.

If there’s one thing I used to feel really grateful for in life, it’s that my Dida was my Dida.

To set your minds, she was the aunt of my mother, making her a tita-lola. I don’t talk much about her, really, because when I do, people just end up blabbering on how Dida has touched their lives and how she was with them. It’s kinda entertaining at first — to hear how others see her differently from what I’ve seen of her — but later on, I start hating them, because I feel like they’ve known her more than I’ve had. Luckily, no one seemed to remember to talk about her. Aside from me, of course.

Whenever I have “reminiscing” moments with my cousins before, it’s kinda funny to hear them brag on how they think one of them was my Dida’s favorite grandchild. Haha, no. I have always known I was her favorite. Her pet. But I never told anyone that really. I just sit there.

You see, that’s my point. My Dida treated us her grandchildren equally, but there were times that I just felt I was special for her. That we have our little secret. When I won my first campus journ presscon, she attended the awarding ceremonies and brought a bag full of delicacies, a little teddy bear, and a plastic flower on a pot. That was our secret. On the day of my graduation from middle school, she gave me a ring (she didn’t give anything to my cousins when they graduated, hah!) and though everybody knew about that, she secretly told me that that ring had a matching pair of earrings — and so I know that was our secret. When I was in my freshman year at high school, she went to our school to attend a seminar, and she brought me with her in that closed-door meeting. That was our secret. Sophomore year, around December before she got admitted to the hospital, she visited me and talked to my adviser as to how I was struggling in class. Then she excused me from my next classes so we can eat at McDonald’s (the cat’s out of the bag: that’s why I love McDo, folks) before I went home the usual time as if she didn’t went to see me. She said I should keep quiet about it, because my cousins would get jealous once they knew, since I was the only one she visited at school. That was our secret. When I took my vacation at theirs and she couldn’t sleep at night, she’d spend the night telling me how successful I will be. And that no matter what, she would be there for me. And that when the time comes that no one will understand me, she would be there to listen. And during those nights, I cried, mostly over nonsense stuff that I can’t tell even my mother. And she said she’d keep that as our secret. That was our secret. Before she got into a coma, she told me how much she believed in me and that I can tell her my secrets. And all those times when she was saying she’s okay, when she showed everyone how strong of a woman she was, when she inspired everyone with her wisdom, and everyone believed her, I knew she’s not okay — that deep inside, she felt weak, and that she wished her wisdom was enough to keep everything seem okay. That was our secret.

I can go about telling everything about her, but does it matter now? When she died, she took the part of me that believes in what I myself can do. She took with her the part of me that dreamed I would be great. That day, I mourned for her thrice more than I did when my father died. That day, I never talked to anyone over how I felt again. I decided to keep everything to myself. After all, no one will understand me the way she did. No one will remember how I love books. No one will realize I don’t have a cake for my birthday yet. No one will notice I was there on that family picture.

It’s the month of April — that time when she brought me to the school where she used to teach and let me took a glimpse of the world she loved. And that’s why this one’s for her.

I now remember why I liked writing: I want to write about her — to write for her. But I stopped writing because I never get it right. And I never will.