THE WORLD OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
Purificacion was a beautiful lass from a remote barrio of Mindanao. Her clan belonged to the minority tribe in a predominantly Muslim area. In the early 30s, she was the toast of the town, statuesque, with flawless skin and brilliant. She could easily qualify as a beauty queen and a career woman but in a community where men were virtually at the forefront of everything, she stayed on the sideline. She would act however as the brains behind every move in her family and would retain the same upbeat disposition even when she married.
Purificacion had a strong personality. She could impose her will, apply her resolve and install her wish and choice with reason. She was the center of her family, the one dictating on everything that should be conducted. Her family was prosperous with her at the inner helm. She delighted on her family’s situation. They had lands, farms and a strategically located residence. She pushed her husband to be one of the best blacksmith in their town—if not the only blacksmith which the community repairs to when in need of iron craft.
Years later, she would be widowed and her leadership through her husband would slide down. In a community where womenfolk are relegated in a corner, she could only muster enough strength to sustain her children up until they would have their respective families.
Before she reached an advanced age, she still would continue to impose her strong will on her family. She was no longer Mama Purification. She was Lola Puric, her hair white as a churchly veil, neatly combed up and coifed at the back. She had been a tough matriarch and almost in command of everything from the time her husband left the world. She would require from her grandchildren to undergo a rigorous training. Those who came from a fledging family would be first in her list. She would whip every child not to toe the line. They would pass through an initiation rite under her guidance which is highly physical. She would drive them into slavery to instill in their bones the meaning of hard work and obedience. She would impose discipline even if the cost is to break their morale and their perception of learning. She would never repeat the same treatment she gave to her children, which made them soft and weak. She would rather have strong grandchildren even if in the process they would fade and crack. Those who would survive would surely make it. It was her gamble and it was her way of greeting her advanced years. She wanted to see herself among those who would survive. It was her means of getting through and living more.
Finally she surpassed the 60s and 70s and now, she is living in a world as an octogenarian. A few days ago, she was greeted her in her 88th birthday. She suffered a leg fracture rendering her immobile for a few days but she has recovered fully except that she could no longer walk. She was a shadow of her former agile deportment. On her natal day, she would be able to see once again her children and grandchildren. It would be another reunion. This time, it would be the first time she would greet her predecessors in a passive way. She could no longer stand but she could only embrace her family visually. Her mind, eyesight and hearing are still as sharp as a youngster. She has been gifted with such fabulous genes and she was pleased about it. But she fears that her ailing bones are signals already for her final episode with her loved ones.
She would be nearing the 90s but she has finally seen her brood. She saw her grandchildren and in particular she saw herself in some on them. She knew she would still continue to live through them.