This was a tribute letter my dad made for my grandmother. Now 85 years old, she has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for more than a decade now and is now in its advanced stage. Although still physically strong, she can no longer recognize people —not her grandkids, and not even her sons. It always brings tears to my eyes to see her like that; I practically grew up with her and stayed with them during my college days. I can just imagine how my father struggles seeing her the way she is now. Despite the painful truth of how this disease has robbed her of what should have been her most treasured memories, it doesn’t diminish who she is in the eyes of those whom her life has touched. The sacrifices she made and the love she gave are cherished and will echo in the minds and hearts of her children. – Milton
Thank you, Mom –
For sending me with Alan to Tagbilaran. It gave me my first glimpse of Jesus Christ through the Sunday School class coloring books. Did you know that I colored His hair yellow?
For your faithfulness in playing the organ during Sunday worship services at the All Saints Chapel. I was amazed at how you labored to foot pedal the organ, flipped the pages of the hymnal, and at the same time played it. I wondered why you had to do it Sunday after Sunday. I didn’t appreciate it then, but now I realize how wonderful it is to serve our Lord Jesus Christ — just like you do.
For comforting me and putting bandage on my foot when I stepped on a nail when we were unpacking our things in Baguio. Now, I prefer to wear shoes than slippers every time I’m up and about.
For serving champorado quite often for breakfast. It sure nourished the seven of us to grow healthy. Now, I’m too healthy that I don’t have to eat champorado anymore.
For holding me still while the nurse was stitching the cut on my head when I hit it on the edge of the bunk bed. It was not my last. I had two other cuts, but it was nothing because of the good experience I had with the first.
For allowing Daddy to keep Friend after he found him walking lost along Loakan road. I learned to love dogs since then.
For drying my only pair of rubber shoes in our electric heater every time it got wet because of the heavy rains. I had something to wear again for school the next day.
For allowing us to have a taste of maja blanca and the banana cupcake you made for the Cadet Mess Hall. Although we had only a bite, it was a real big treat for us. The banana cupcake was Lolo Minggoy’s recipe, but what mattered most was that you were the one who made it. We knew you were doing it to earn extra money and help Daddy provide for us.
For buying my first maong pants. I walked differently that day on my way to school because it was new and not a hand-me-down. It started my penchant for Levi’s jeans.
For sending me often to the post commissary for errands and allowing me to use some of the change for myself. We didn’t normally have juice and soft drinks at home, so this gave me a chance to enjoy gulping Sunkist juice and Sprite from those errands.
For not sparing the rod when I was bullying my siblings Eric, Tina, and Tan Tan. I didn’t appreciate it then, but I learned to be considerate and loving to others.
Mom, thank you for these little things that mattered most in my life.
I love you,
Army Lt. Col. Erwin Luga of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (PMA Class ’82) had a promising military career before choosing to retire early from military service to heed God’s call for him to become a full-time vocational minister. He is now pastoring the Philippine Military Academy Christian Fellowship (PMACF) at Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City. He and wife Amelie have two grown children, daughter Ena, and son Milton, who shared this article, a business man and himself a pastor, currently shepherding Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) Fairview.