CHRISTMAS WITHOUT HER
By Hazel Jane Zusa A.K.A. H-Jae
“How about this Christmas?”
A question suddenly flashed through my mind.
Yes, indeed. Next month would be another cheerless Christmas where in incompleteness in our small, somewhat annoying family will commemorate. Perhaps four consecutive sad Noche Buenas totally affected our lives and how we defined the true essence of Christmas. Though I already knew that it’s all about remembering the love of Jesus Christ to us but sad to say, there’s still missing.
My heart felt so empty when she left. So do my younger sister for December 25 was her birthday. I could still remember our last Christmas together…it was a bit bizarre because we’re just four in the family (papa, mama, me and my sister) sitting around a circle-shaped plastic table. In front of us were appetizing foods which an average family like us can only afford. Because my father that time was a hardworking baker, he baked us a chiffon cake. It tasted delicious enough causing our mouth to water and made our hands to grab for more. There were also slices of bread with my favorite peanut butter spread and a bottle of softdrink. “Simple”, I could say. But that simplicity meant so much to me.
She was our designer…obliged to decorate our little amacan house with flickering Christmas lights and Santa Claus images with matching “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” slogan placed at our convenient sala. I could still remember how she bellowed on me everytime our three-foot Christmas tree with simple yet colorful decorations fell on the floor because of the husky wind. She then ordered me to fix it and put it back to its original position.
When she decided to work abroad in order to sustain our financial needs in school, I cried inside, not like a little kid anymore because I was already nineteen at that time. I could still recall how sad the candid face of my sister was. Moreover, the indescribable emotion drawn on my father’s face was quite worrying for I knew he was upset and forlorn.
Yes, I was already nineteen when mama left us and went to Kuwait. Pretty grown-up maybe to comprehend that it’s the only way so I can be able to continue my studies again. Nevertheless, the story of my life became vague starting that moment. Then the next chapter was completely blighted.
Everything changed. Christmas wasn’t that enthusiastic and vivacious just like before. As I reminisced on the memories we had last Christmas of 2009, I could still picture out the melancholy which showers our little home that seemed so sick. My father was awfully drunk on the neighborhood while I and my sister spent Noche Buena at my cousin’s place. It was really poignant.
The next Christmas was no difference. Sadness still swaddled us…but I have to accept it anyway. We have to go on anyway for we have no choice. The fact that without mother’s sacrifice I wouldn’t be in school right now definitely chagrined my heart and mind.
Then our third lonesome Christmas came. What was really the quintessence of it to me and to all families who had been celebrating Christmas without mothers? Well, I admit that it’s so difficult to define since mixed emotions continued to disturb my entity. So far, it wasn’t so sad just like the previous holidays. My father was not drunk anymore, my sister and I did not spend Noche Buena at our cousin’s house anymore because we had already transferred our residence at father’s hometown. When December 25 came, papa and I greeted my sister happy birthday then mama called. We set the cellphone in loudspeaker and started eating with mama’s voice on the phone. It was like she’s there too but, pain in our hearts were still obvious. What would happen next? What could be another noteworthy memory to be reminisced this coming Christmas?
These glum thoughts abruptly smashed on my mind…She was my one and only heroine. She was affectionate yet valiant because she can overcome any hardships a family would normally face. She was smart. In fact, she’s also our accountant and manager. She had the most perfect smiles in any angle and I’m so proud to have smiles like hers. She’s a mere ordinary woman to some people but to me, she’s the only one who can complete the missing part of our family and pour the emptiness of our hearts. I won’t be able to appreciate the spirit of Christmas again without her.
However, the most common definition of Christmas might be “about giving love and sharing the best you have towards others, about forgiving and acceptance, about Jesus’ everlasting love to humankind…” or others probably say “about exchanging gifts, about colorful decorations, about abundant foods…” But, to me, Christmas means her coming back to fulfill our solitude and the feeling of isolation within us and to wrap us around her arms of solace again. Commemorating Christmas without her is one of the most agonizing episodes of my story.
*Thanks for reading :))