Pasko na… The countdown is almost over, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. For the first time in my life, I will not be able to wish my parents a Merry Christmas. I had plans of being in Rome this year, and after Daddy died in September, Mommy was ready to fly with me, at least in her mind, since she knew her body would not be able to handle the cold winter.
Pasko na… and I look back on a year of great losses, all the upheavals, and am grateful the year is almost over.
Pasko na… and to say that I miss my parents would be a lie and the greatest understatement of my life. It is more than just missing someone, but now I understand the true meaning of the word “longing” (Sehnsucht in German, añoranza in Spanish), and if I longed for my parents before, these holidays make it even more difficult to bear the loss. Knowing that I am away from Manila with no reason to call home makes the coldness of winter in Europe even more difficult to bear. I miss the warmth of my mother’s embrace, the affection in my father’s voice over the phone, and the childlike joy their eyes twinkled with when they opened gifts.
Pasko na… and even when I was no longer living at home and had moved to another country, I knew that on Christmas day I would pick up the phone and dial the number to hear their voices. Daddy would rattle on about what he ate that day, and Mommy would share the latest news about the family, or even just about the dogs. How I wish with all my heart, I could dial the number home and hear their voices one more time.
Pasko na… It’s Christmas already, and I am in no mood to celebrate. How can I rejoice the birth of Christ when I have lost the very people who gave me life? I read emails and listen to friends tell me about their plans for the grandparents / parents this year, and all I can say is that they are moments to be cherished and held on to. You never know what will happen over the next 12 months and who will be absent from the table next Christmas.
Pasko na… and I am far from the warmth of home, the Christmas decorations what were a part of my childhood, and most of all, the voices who will never again wish me a merry Christmas in the same way they did for almost 50 years.