Grace

8. My Mother’s Legacy

We had a moment tonight while visiting mom. Sometime during after dinner conversation it was decided that she would pass on the torch to the only actor in the next generation — my son.

Passing the torch meant giving her treasured books on acting — Stanislavsky, Laurence Olivier, and Michael Caine, to her only surviving male grandson. It was a moment fraught with both sadness and joy.

As a child, I remember so clearly how she would pore over these books in her bedroom. She would read them every afternoon just before my father would arrive home. Sometimes she would lock the door, and I would hear her practice. Mom was always very passionate about her craft. She read up on the great actors and actresses and studied their methods and techniques, and then created her own.

While she scribbled her dedication to Leon, I took this photograph of her deep in thought. In one of the books, she wrote, “I hope someday you will be my best actor…” and in another, “Take good care of this book. This is part of my pamana to you.” In all the books, she signed them lovingly, Mama “D” for Mama Darling, the name all her grandchildren know her by.

After she was done, I showed her this photograph. “Ay lolang Lola na ako! Pero ang ganda ng framing at ng lighting… writer ka nga talaga. Sige, gawan mo ng kuwento pag-uwi mo.” Then she paused, and in characteristic Caridad fashion, she said, “Oy, hindi pa ako mamamatay ha!” (Hey, I’m not going to die yet!)

It was my dad who taught me how to read, but it was always my mother who helped me find my voice, throughout the various stages of my life, and encouraged me to share my stories with the world. One day, I know, the time will come, as all children at some point do, when it will be my turn to help her remember, and share her stories too.

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