Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 18 Jul 2018 12am







    Tuesday, July 17, 2018-8:09:43P.M.






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Adios Nanan Nena

WE buried her this Wednesday.  She was 104 and a couple of days old when she quietly slipped under.

She was our “nurturing mother.”  Nanan Nena, we called her that simply because she raised us up from “suckling” until she became bed-ridden recently due to her advanced age. She left this world a few days ago. 

And I figure her soul is on its way to the land of our biblical father, Abraham, at Ur, at the bank of the twin river. 

Following Refaluwasch legend, her leaving the land of Ur of the twin river, she would find Jacob Ladder which would lead her to heaven’s door and St. Peter and St. Paul, the two pillars of the Church.  She would be escorted into the meadow of Paradise where she would take her place among the Church heroes.

Even then, when she was healthy, we would find time to visit her.  As her health started to fade, the kids took turn taking care of her, until she was placed under the care of Rose, one of her children. 

Nanan Nena, for more than half a century of her life, was our joy and happiness, growing up with her at our Garapan house and, later, after she married Tatan Pablo, at the Tanapag farm, the “lanchon Tanapag” before the big war. 

There were about 13 of us, children of Elias Parung and Carmen Mangarero Sablan, and all of us, 13, were reared by Nanan Nena.

Visiting Nanan Nena at Tanapag, was always joy, the happiest time for us.  Sometimes I would just smile when I think of it now.  It was like letting the piglets out of the pen to plow the yard. It was joy, every time.  mango time, swimming time, saibuk lemai time, saibuk aga time.  Boy, all kinds of saibuk, katdon manog time, katdon guihan time, all kinds of seafood, and we all enjoyed the food because Nanan Nena, the Midas of cooks, cooked them.  It was food cooked with magic. 

“Man manngi lai brot.”  We would eat and eat and eat until we were full, and groggy from a tight stomach.  A little sleep afterward helped. 

It was like “head over heel” kind of joy when we eat Nanan Nena’s cookings.

 And the rope had been let loose.  We felt free from our mother’s stern eyes at Garapan. 

The night Nanan Nena silently faded away, her son, David, and I were sitting next to her head on each side of the bed, in the ICU at CHCC.  We did not notice her slipping away.  We were busy exchanging info about our cellphones. 

It was Martin’s wife, Marlyn, standing at the foot of the bed who noticed that Nanan Nena’s chest had stopped heaving.  The doctor came and confirmed that our nurturing mother, the lady who, for more than half a century nurtured us and gave us joy and happiness, was gone.

Incomparable sadness overcame us. 

So, for Nanan Nena, I recite, in part, the very beautiful and touching lyrics by Josh Groban, “You Raise Me Up”: 

“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains, you raise me up to walk the stormy sea, I am strong when I am on your shoulder; You raise me up to more than I can be.” 

Nanan Nena, we will miss your warm smile and welcoming embrace and the joy of being with you when we were growing up, and whenever we visit you at Tanapag. 

When we reminisce, I’m sure each one of us will agree that your warm smile always come through, and always made us welcome.  And a little bit of tears is OK.

Garapan, Saipan