Helen, or Yaya Heyen as Sadako knows her, technically isn’t my daughter’s yaya. Helen has been our maid—and a special part of our family—for around 50 years already, I think (and she's gone home only twice!), and more than taking care of Sadako, she cooks yummy meals for us, washes and presses our clothes, and took great care of my grandmother back when she was still alive. So when my grandmother passed away, Helen naturally wanted to take a break and spend some time back in Bicol.

Helen left last week.

The house has been lonely and quiet ever since my lola died, and it’s gotten more lonely and quiet since Helen flew back to her hometown.

Sadako clearly misses her Yaya Heyen. I see it every time she looks at the door when it opens, expecting it to be Yaya Heyen. I’m sure Sadako also misses how
Helen drops by whenever she feels tired or frustrated about something, how she brings us her moan-inducing sinigang, ube halaya, sumang kamoteng kahoy, etc., and how she shares all these stories—complete with huge gestures and award-worthy facial expressions.

Can’t wait for Helen to come back. I’m sure Sadako’s excited, too.