Custodio: Merry Christmas?

FOR the past seven Christmases, there has always been a part of me that remains unwilling and never thrilled about celebrating the holidays. “It” finds Christmas boring and fussy. The repetitive activities like shopping for gifts and endless Christmas parties and class reunions slated within the yuletide just gets old and tiring after a few years, right? Fussy because Christmas decorating is complicated, keeping track of party dates and thinking of the Christmas dinner menu and shopping for it just drains the energy out of you especially with the horrendous holiday traffic!!!! Arrghh. These days I would rather stay home and roll around in bed while watching TV. That’s just about how “productive” I want to be! The Christmas blues hit me a but harder this year and I’m struggling with it, maybe because Christmas is for families to celebrate together and my father is no longer here to do so with us.

Deaths in December (or any time before it) sucks big time! I remember that first Christmas without my father. We had the biggest Christmas tree adorned by hundreds of shiny, colorful decorations and thousands of happy twinkling lights! We even had a beautiful belen and a whole Christmas village complete with functioning trains that circle it! Cool right? But it did nothing to hide the air of melancholia that hung heavily in the air. After all, our Santa has gone to heaven and left a big, big void in our hearts and our home. And it ached pretty badly. Despite the sadness though, I was happy we had each other, the family left on earth, to celebrate his life and recall our fondest memories of him during Christmas. It is difficult to be in a situation when you are one beloved less, especially when it’s Christmastime.

So, soon as December rolled in, I got the blues and it got worse everyday. I know I am not alone in this. We all celebrate Christmas with a little sadness that some of our loved ones are no longer here to celebrate with us. But, that is life. We learn to live with it and just go on with life. We really do not need to ignore nor deny the sadness. It is because we love them that we continue to miss them. So, let it be. I always think that although nothing beats having them physically present to talk with, to hug and to kiss, we certainly have gained enough warm memories to always keep them near us during these days. I miss my Popsey’s 1000 peso cash gift until now. Hehehe. The memories attached to his white envelope with the barely readable doctor penmanship is priceless!! I wish now though, that I had kept those white envelopes, no, at least one, so I will have something to bring out each Christmas to remind me of the good times. Funny how we used to kid him to give us a Christmas gift raise during Christmas dinner (after we had exchanged gifts). At this point, I would’ve paid what I could just to get one of those white envelopes back.

A few days ago I took a old jeepney route, the one I took when I was in high school, just to pass time away. It took me to Ilustre Street, a place I do not go to often these days. As I alighted near Amgar Complex, I remembered that old fried chicken place inside it that my father discovered when he bought me a Bookworm Club membership as Christmas gift when I was in high school. I went in to see if it still existed and it did! Goldie’s was still up and running! So I bought me a chicken meal, and sat there with tears falling down my cheeks. I really miss him. But it did make me feel good to know that the chicken place he discovered was still there. He used to bring a box home for us back in the day. As a token, I brought some home for my mom and siblings too. I think they remembered my Dad too, looking at their smiling faces while they ate. “Pareho pa rin,” my brother said. Yup. Tasted the same. It would have been supercool if my Papa was still around to say the same thing too!

To all of us who have lost a loved one, whether it was a long time ago or just recently, Merry Christmas! We can cry and miss them as much as we can, really. But let us always remember how they would probably be sad if we were too weepy this yuletide season! Let us remember the memories we have of them fondly and lovingly, with much laughter as we can muster {but without peeing hehehe). Merry Christmas everyone!! And yes that goes out to our loved ones up there too!!! :)
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