Halloween tale: I saw the ghost of my grandpa
I SAW the ghost of my grandfather when I was a two-year-old toddler.
His ghost popped out from a huge wooden post inside our house in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, one evening during the nine-day prayer for the eternal repose of his soul.
His sudden appearance in the midst of the novena sent all those attending the prayer meeting―including my grandmother Magdalena Clarin Bautista, my parents Mr. and Mrs. Pedro Cal (nee Milagros Clarin Bautista), and relatives scampering to different directions and leaving me alone behind.
As a 24-month-old baby, I was unaware of the whole episode until I was four, when my grandma and parents asked me whether I indeed saw the spirit of my grandfather, the late Dr. Andres Bautista, that night of All Souls Day on Nov. 2, 1947. My grandpa died on Oct. 25 that same year.
They related to me in detail what transpired that evening when suddenly I shouted “Lolo, Lolo, Lolo,” pointing my finger to a huge wooden post in the receiving room of our house.
I told them I could not recall what I saw, but the fact that all of them ran for their lives when I shouted “Lolo, Lolo, Lolo” was more than enough to confirm that I indeed saw his ghost. He was and apparently lingering in the area to make his presence felt.
Ghosts are real, indeed.
As the eldest grandson, I remember my Lolo Andres carrying me on his breast while lying in his bed and giving me “broa” cookies that I munched with gusto.
I presumed that he was fond of me considering that he bore his first grandchild at the age of 65 since he married late in his life.
As a physician, he was the best doctor in town during his lifetime, being a graduate of Yale University in the United States in the early 1900s, according to my grandmother.
He cured thousands of patients.
My Lola said she was only 16 when she first met my Lolo, who was a visiting doctor in Bohol in 1913.
He fell in love the first time he saw my Lola. The next thing she knew, my Lolo had proposed to marry her despite the age gap of 17 years.
My Lola Magdalena was one of the 17 siblings of Protacio Clarin. According to my mother, my Lolo Andres asked permission from my great grandfather, Protacio, a classmate of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
My grandparents bore three children: Milagros Bautista, my mother, and her two brothers, retired Army Ist Lt. Jose Bautista, who fought the Japanese in World War II, and Judge Antonio Bautista. All of them are dead.
They left behind 17 grandchildren. The Clarins are one of the biggest clans in Bohol.
When I was a boy, my grandma proudly showed me a letter of Rizal addressed to my great grandfather, Protacio. The letter of Rizal to my great grandpa Protacio was written in Spanish.
She had kept the letter as a priceless memento. But when she died on Jan. 1, 1977, we could not find the letter despite our efforts to locate it.
My grandmother told me that when my Lolo Andres was gravely ill he knew, being a doctor, that death was coming soon and called her and their three children to say good-by.
But before he breathed his last, he finally acceded to call a priest to confess his sins. Fluent in Spanish, his last words were: “Adios, Magdalena.” He died a happy death.
As we observe with solemnity All Souls’ Day, I pray to God for the eternal repose of the souls of my parents, grandparents, relatives and friends with great hope that they are in Heaven.