Collect memories, not things.
This is something I’ve come to realize is very important in life, especially now.
An issue with humanity I notice is that we have a tendency to take others for granted, especially those we love the most. We may not do it purposefully, but life just takes over and other things end up a priority over loved ones, because in the back of our minds we assume that we’ll “just see them tomorrow.”
The truth is, life is short. And honestly, you never really know when the person you “made plans to spend time with” will be gone forever, whether it’s your parents, siblings, grandparents, best friends, or even the random person you live with who you only met months ago but already feel like it’s been years…
As a cancer, it’s only natural that I have a sensitive side. I mean look, I already have a journal with a bunch of messages dedicated to my most important loved ones should something happen to me sooner than expected. Truth: I add at least one person to that journal every month.
But that’s not what this blog post is about. I’m actually dedicating this one to my recently deceased great-aunt Veronica Tolentino, as well as her sister (my lovely grandma) Consuelo Yamane. Lately I have to admit, I have been MIA socially, within my circle of best friends, even with my lovely new roommate (who I feel I still have a lot to learn about as well as from him), but more specifically my family. My aunty Taling (as the family would refer to her as) was more than just an aunt. She was like a second grandmother to me. She was a nice reminder of my grandma when I couldn’t actually be with or see her. She and my grandma, together or not, have taught me so much throughout my lifetime, and I feel there is still a lot for me to learn. Thus, there is so much I wanted to say and share with her, people I wanted her to eventually meet. But now, although I have come to terms with the situation, I can’t believe she is gone forever, and I will never get to really share all those memories I wanted to share.
Last night, while on the phone with my grandma, she brought up the fact that her sister and brother are now, “paving the path for her to join them.” And although I don’t really want to think about that, especially not right now, I know that it’s only a matter of time…because well, life is short.
So here it goes,
I love you with all my heart. It still beats me up inside that the opportunity arose a few weeks before you passed to finally get to see you, and I didn’t jump at the chance. Even knowing you were sick, and breast cancer was winning this battle you had been fighting for years. I may not have been your granddaughter, but you will forever have a special place in my heart. You have taught me so much that I will forever be grateful for. There is so much I wish I could have expressed to you. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for always being there for me, for teaching me so much, for all the motivation and strength. At times when I felt so homesick (while living here on Oahu) you were always a nice reminder of home and my own grandma. There were times when I would forget that you were actually my aunty, and for that kind of love I thank you.
I know that your still here, and there is still time for me to create memories with you. And to share the most beautiful parts of my life that I have acquired while living on my own. But, it scares me that I may not get the chance to..that life and its lemons will take over and somehow hinder those opportunities to do all of that. Thus, grandma, I hope you do know that I love you.
You are one of the most important people in my life. You have taught me so much already. Trust me, I would probably not be able to survive on my own without everything you’ve taught me — my ability to cook, especially. Oh, and all that make-up advice you gave me growing up, I thought it was silly then. But now, I realize it is essential. Eyeliner and mascara, yes I use it. Red lipstick, I use it on special occasions. Parting my hair to the side, hated it before, but yes I do that now. And, Pond’s Moisturising Cream has become a part of my daily routine. And, I know there’s still a lot you can teach me.
And grandma, I know you still contemplate my decision to move away from home and often toy with the idea of me moving back home. Although I probably do hope to come back to Kaua’i to live someday, it may not be for a while. Please don’t be upset or sad however, moving here may have been one of the best decisions of my life. I have learned so much, and met so many amazing people who I believe will be a part of my life for a long time. Some of whom I wish you could meet, and aunty Taling too…
— My coffee enthusiast friends, I would have to say have been an essential part of my adulting process. Heck, my friends Sumner and Chelsie were probably two of the first people I met who I truly considered friends after moving here who were actually “new” people to me, and not someone I knew from home or because of someone I was related to. And thanks to my connection to them and the Curb, I have met so many other lovely people — Patrick, Juli, and Justin. (just to name a few)
— My wing woman Kat. My partner in crime. The one friend from back home who I always felt safest with, even when we were out getting crazy drunk. She was probably like a guiding light, helping me realize my potential to be great and reach my goals.
— My most lovely coworkers, who have by now (after two years) have become family. — Travis, my “other” brother. Jess, the other half of my sanity (at work). James, my homeboy, the one that continuously had my back, even in times when I didn’t deserve it.
— The coworker who I fell head over stupid for within the last year. Although it may have not worked out, and he is no longer a part of my life, I still wish you could have met Liam. The first guy I would probably say I was in love with. Many may say I was stupid, and maybe I was, but in that moment it felt special. And honestly, yes I still do care. Do I still love him? No. But, of course I will always care…it’s only in my nature after all. But yes, I wish you could have met him too, because he not only meant a lot to me at the time, but he also taught me a lot and well, obviously was a big part of my love life.
— My former roommate, Jasmine. She, was and well, still is a sweet girl. Although there were things she and I didn’t agree on at times, and as of currently we are apparently no longer friends, I am still glad I met her. She and I shared a lot of memories, and she helped me through a lot (at the time).
— And, more importantly (at least, right now) my current roommate, Kaleo. Mainly because well, we live together and are pretty much putting each other’s lives in the other’s hands for the next year. But honestly, he is the sweetest, most genuine person I have ever met. He has his flaws, but then again what person on earth doesn’t? He is without a doubt the best roommate and one of the best friends I’ve had thus far. I know you may have your opinions about me living with a guy, who is not my boyfriend. But trust me, there is nothing to worry about. And if there was one person that I wanted you and aunty Taling to meet on this whole list of people that I just made, it would be him.When he first moved in, I remember he said to me, “so, you met my family. when do I get to meet yours?” As I told him that most of my family lived on Kaua’i and more than likely he’d probably not be able to meet them unless they came here or we both flew back to see them, one person came to mind, and that was aunty Taling. I kept hoping that one day we’d both have a day off and some freetime available to go out to Waipahu and see her. But it never worked out. And well, grandma I really would love for him to meet you — the woman most dear to my heart besides my mother.
Grandma, all of these people are just as dear to me as you are, and I hope that one day I’ll be able to introduce them to you. Or at the very least tell you about them, and all that they’ve taught me and inspired me to accomplish.