I keep hearing the opening lines of “Merry Christmas, Darling” in my head and the late Karen Carpenter ‘s image floating above the music but I haven’t sent my Christmas cards — yet. (I haven’t actually made them as yet.)
My tree IS up with all the lights but I am in the midst of trying to decide which ornaments will go up this year and how much I will actually put up. I kind of like the way the tree is all lit up and “sparkly” as Angelo would say. I haven’t even gone beyond my Christmas card dilemma and my tree decorating decision and my brain is not working this way or that. It would’ve been nice to stay home but there is work. (So I’m doing this in the midst of enjoying my arroz caldo leftovers for lunch.)
It just hit me as I started writing this that it’s my first christmas without Dad.
I thought I’d write about it as part of my way of coping with the new reality of having one parent less around. At least I did get to see him last year, even if it was in the midst of another health crisis. I got to stay in Manila a month and spend my first ever real Christmas and New Years with my family after 10 years… or almost.
There’s really not much to miss physically as our family has always spent Christmas without him there during the customary noche buena. It’s just that knot that never goes away — that part of you that aches and throbs within.
I miss him. But I am glad that we got the chance to spend this much time with him, no matter how trying our circumstances as a family were. Some of the pain he caused lingers — and there are the unanswered questions in my mind and heart. He still makes me cry. I think of him and I think of his girlfriend. I remember the woman who brought so much pain into our lives. Even now as I write, I struggle with that thought and try not to give in to the anger.
If anything, Dad’s passing brought my siblings and I closer to my half-sister. Dad would be so happy wherever he is seeing that finally happen. I am not angry with my father. The Daddy’s Girl that I always will be just can’t make me get to that point where my pain turns to anger. I do miss him dearly.
“Merry Christmas, Dad.. We’re apart, that’s true. But I can dream, and in my dreams, I’m Christmasing with you…”