This year has been especially hard for me. There has been a dark cloud over me since 15 May 2016 that I find it hard to feel true joy even surrounded by happy people. But life must go on so I push myself out of bed each day.
This Christmas will be hard as it will be the first time, I will be spending it as an orphan. Some people may not be able to appreciate the feeling of being unanchored when both parents are gone, Some may even say that being an adult orphan will not be that difficult but I tell you… the pain is real.
Christmas has always been a big thing in our family. It is the most joyous of all holidays. Decorating the house is a family affair. Papa does the outside lighting whilst we do the inside decoration. Even when I am away from home, we still discuss about Christmas decorations over the phone and my Mama was always first to praise my decors ( no matter how meager it was as she will forever be my number 1 fan).
Christmas 2012 was hard for us as both parents got diagnosed with CA mid-year. Mama just had an operation and Papa – well, we knew his was a terminal case from the start so there was a big chance that was his last Christmas with us. So my sister, Arlene, put up the tree earlier than usual and bought shiny new decors so Papa can have his best Christmas tree. Allan, Arlene’s husband took over the light decoration outside of the house as Papa was no longer able to do it himself.
That was indeed Papa’s last Christmas with us.
Christmas 2013 was a blur. I was jolted out of my stupor and sadness when Haiyan hit Philippines. We were busy doing charity work those days that I temporarily forgot about the pain of losing Papa that year. I knew he would have encouraged and supported me in doing what I was doing then. All my altruism were modeled from and encouraged by my parents.
Christmas 2014, I was just 6 weeks post-op and in no condition to be climbing up the attic to get the Christmas tree and decors, Mama told me to just buy a tiny tree and have some Christmas decors so that I can still feel the spirit of Christmas. So this happened in Christmas 2014…
I had a small tin Christmas tree instead and made sure that I had the nativity set out as well ( so I did climb the attic after all to get the Nativity set).
Christmas 2015, I was slowly getting better dealing with the loss of Papa. As homage to the parol that he lights up outside our home, I decided to light up my own star in my flat. This delighted my Mama very much that we spent time talking about it over the phone. Little did I know that would be her last Christmas with us.
This year, I felt too broken to even think of Christmas and decorations. I am what can be classed as a highly functioning sad individual as nobody would have thought that I constantly had a dark cloud over me My public face was the same but in my alone time- when nobody is watching, I allow myself to feel sad. I did not plan to put up decors in my flat at all but my sister, Noemi, told me that my parents will be sad if I do not decorate for Christmas and let myself wallow in sadness.
I only made the decision to decorate in my flat just last week. I got the little tree delivered and bought the baubles. I had my tree up before the first Sunday of advent as per our family tradition. I am doing my best to see some light this year. Perhaps, I will be inspired to write a not-so-angsty blog again. Perhaps, my smile will eventually reach my eyes and heart. I know that my grief will most likely last beyond Christmas but until then, I will let my Christmas decors light up my darkened flat. And maybe just maybe, there will eventually be light.