My Lola

A note from Big Nugget:
It has been some time since I shared my friend’s words. I am grateful that he continues to trust this little community and continues to shares such vulnerable moments with us. Through other’s experiences, we learn compassion, acceptance, and peace — only a few among the many traits we can gain from listening to another person’s story.

Thank you Ricky, for sharing such a vulnerable piece with us!  

To read Ricky Congo’s last contribution to my blog, click here. To learn about the “A friend of the Nuggets” project, click hereComments and questions are encouraged. We want your thoughts and stories, too! 


As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed certain things… I’ve seen my dad frustrated, I’ve seen him angry, and I’ve seen him irritated — a lot of times because I’m hard headed, stubborn and set in my ways.  (Don’t laugh too hard dad for the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree).  If you know anything about my father, you know about the upset face, the furled eye brows, the big eyes and the pursed lips, but I’ve never noticed him sad. For 32 years, I’ve wondered if he could even produce tears.  That changed on Monday.

I received a phone call as I was leaving work.  My dad told me that grandma had passed.  I went straight to his house and found him in a state that I never thought was a possibility, crying and sobbing.  Understandably so, grandma, after all, is his loving mother.

Grandma was not like any other person.  Often greeting me with a hug and two sniffs, one on each side of my face, she was always generous and kind.  She was one of those people who got joy out of seeing everyone around her happy.  Her super power was food and she made sure you not only liked what she gave you, but that you ate until your stomach hurt.

I have a story that sums my grandma up.  You may find this hard to believe, but I was an extremely picky eater when I was younger.  For years, I unreasonably made sure I had a steady diet of pizza, steak and McDonald’s.  I was about 12 years old at the time and my dad took me to the new and only McDonald’s in Davao City, Philippines to get breakfast.  I came home ecstatic with two hash browns and immediately ate them.  Grandma noticed and instead of being upset that I didn’t eat her cooking, she watched me eat the hash browns and asked “you like?”.  Of course, I naively said yes and didn’t think anything of the situation.  The next day she woke me up and she had a bag of ten hash browns in her hand.  My dad shook his head, because McDonald’s was far from their house, and with a very stern look, he said “you better eat all of those”.  So I did, it hurt, but I did.  The day after that, grandma woke me up again, but this time there were 20 hash browns in the McDonald’s bag.  I looked at my dad, he started laughing and said “that’s what you get.”

Grandma loved to cook, she loved to feed you and she loved to see you happy.  So, when you’re eating today and you feel full, have another plate, just for grandma.  And when you begin to cry, because it’s inevitable, make sure you smile as well.  I truly believe grandma is watching from heaven and doesn’t want us to be sad while celebrating her life.  She would want us full and happy.

You know, I’m not supposed to be here… On 2 days notice and an expired passport, traveling across the world, you’re going to tell me that my grandma had nothing to do with this?  You can’t convince me.  As she prays often, I assume she has that kind of pull with the Lord.  So, grandma, thank you for all that you’ve done for us, we love you and we will miss you, always.

-Ricky Congo

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