I KNOW it’s the time for merriment and cheer, it being the Christmas season and all, but I can’t help but be pensive for just a little while.
It seems Christmas time is the time when we get to miss people the most. It’s probably because this season is for families, for special gatherings, for joyous celebrations with both family and friends. We are used to their presence, their greetings, their participation during the holiday season, and what is more heartbreaking is that we oftentimes take for granted their role in our lives while they are still around.
It is going to be the first Christmas without him. He used to be the master planner, the financer/ budget officer, the party jester, and the entertainer. Weeks before Noche Buena we would already have a “meeting” over at Sunday lunch to work on the menu for both Noche Buena and Media Noche, and then make a list of all the ingredients and other items needed for the menu, and specify whose responsibility each item would be. For years and years and years, the same people would be in charge of drinks, firewood, BBQ and ham, but for some reason we would look forward to the luncheon meeting to assign the same things over and over. It was a labor of love for all of us.
Even when he was already having health issues and could no longer see, his planning skills never waned.
It is only 4 days away till Noche Buena, and we have not drawn up that list. It feels as though we are all still waiting for that luncheon meeting with him around, ready to laugh at his jokes while we’re planning our feasts. It seems as though there is that unspoken understanding that our Christmas will never be the same without him around, and that the house will always have an empty corner that only he could fill.
I know you’re looking down on all of us, with your smiling eyes.
Knowing you, you will actually be in fits of laughter saying “Anyametten!” because we have not lifted a finger to plan our celebrations the way you always used to do. I can imagine your grin as you watch Susay (“so-shy”) Nadine, and your new boys Giddy and Mikos growing up so fast each day.
The first Christmas without your departed loved ones is expectedly the harshest, and it may take a lot more holiday seasons to get used to the fact that they are no longer here. But we thank the Lord for memories crafted so lovingly while they were still around.
Merry Christmas, Daddy Manolo. We miss you. (firstname.lastname@example.org)