After Lolo Sopong died, it was obvious that she was to become the head of the Bucag family. Lola Jean as we would call her, she emerged as a stronger woman taking up the void left by my lolo. It was not to my surprise that she despite her aging physique continued to impose her presence upon me mentally. It was as if her very self was the lifeblood and only evidence of my every claim that I am truly part of the Bucag family… and she had her whole life to prove me that.
Life for her was mostly a series of challenges that she unrelentingly faced and she never seemed to fail to remind me that. How she and her older sister had to find ways on how to make ends meet on a daily basis because their father died at a very early stage in their life. How she graduated consistently on top of her class despite the extra duties she had apart from academics. How, after graduating, she fell for the young and prominent Dr. Bucag but everybody else insisted she wouldn’t be taken seriously. She proved them otherwise when they eventually got married. How she raised a family of five boys that would soon become five successful and disciplined men in their respective paths of life. How she established the Rural Bank of Cauayan with her own money and her inexhaustible will despite her detractors being her closest friends.
However, she just has this air of arrogance around her that seems to stem from the wealth of experiences she has had in her life. It has always been easier for me to take all the things she says for granted because I never find them to be in any way relevant to my own personal life. Or maybe I just don’t know for sure if it’s for my own benefit or for the sake of her reveling in her past achievements. Sad to say it almost always seemed to be the latter.
Nevertheless, there’s still that familiar feeling I get whenever I hear her talk about the things she remember. Something that makes me forget all the marks or scars of wisdom on her face. A part of her I can really thank simply just for making who she is now. On the back of my mind there will always be that person who did all she could in her life enough to convince me to write this for her… that part of her truly deserving to be dignified.
Juana Reyes Bucag