Heaven exists. I go there someday to see my grandfather and father again. I refuse the idea that there is no heaven because otherwise I will not see them again.
They are the strongest influences in my life.
Grandfather, my mom’s father whom I call Lolo [which is from the Spanish ‘abuelo’], was 103 when he died. He was waiting for me but I did not get to him on time. He was helathier than many 40-year-olds today except for cataracts in his left eye and a very bent back. He had perfect hearing, perfect memory, sharp humor, gentle disposition, active daily in the garden, almost never sick.
At 82 he alone, with his hands, put up the bamboo fencing around our house. He prayed the Rosary every dusk without fail. It was my pride to dedicate primarily to him my doctoral dissertation. He never studied beyond the first grade. He was illiterate. He would rather pick guavas and lounge around at the back of his water buffaloes, away from his strict teachers, when he was kid.
When World War II happened, he was a regular at the American barracks, free to get in and out anytime he wished, because he was a favorite and a friend of many American soldiers. He would cook and do the laundry for the officers. They gave him many parting gifts and photographs when it was time for them to vacate the country.
Lolo was a kind and uncomplicated man, industrious, independent, helpful and generous, and did not tolerate wastefulness of any kind. He refused to eat chicken because he raised some himself. Thank God chicken isn’t served in heaven.
Daddy was the only person I felt fear for, in the sense of not wishing to face his displeasure when I break some house rule. His disciplinarian ways was normal in their generation, having experienced a more strict regimen from his father himself. He was already 27 when he was in his 2nd year of high school (this is the Grade 8 of Junior High today). Nevertheless, by sheer determination and industry, he eventually became an engineer.
Mostly self-taught in whatever he’d put his hands on, he developed a habit of reading so that he accumulated paperbacks of the Robert Ludlum genre. Before working in the construction industry he was a public transport driver, a common laborer, a candy maker, a printing press assistant. After semi-retirement he raised poultry, cultivated his own rice paddies, operated a bakery, and himself drove public transportation again. He was making building plans again, the civil engineer’s blue print, the year he started to suffer in his lungs. He was smoking since he was in his teens.
I thought he was Superman when I was little. I remember being thankful to God for giving me such a good life and good parents. I was just maybe 4 or 5, happy of a life that didn’t lack provisions. I was a contented kid, counting the many fowls that my father raised around the house: chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese. Much later we also had a fishpond that had fishes one can eat. We had goats, pigs, dogs, cats, birds, and in the midst of all this were relatives and friends living with us, helping with our income-earning activities.
My respect and love for books came from him. I was holding his hands when he took his last breath. I assured him that we will see each other again, when we’d finally get to where he was going, in heaven.
If there is someone you love who has died and you miss them so, and you want to see them again, just hang in there. We’re in this together.
(In the featured photo on top, Lolo was around 100 years old then.)
If you wish to read an academic discussion about resurrection, you may click on this link. In there I summarize from the book of the Prof. Dr. [Rev.] Hans Schwarz, of the University of Regensburg Institute of Protestant Theology. Just FYI, the former pope Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) was a faculty member of the University of Regensburg.
Have a great day!