Short of being called the Gringe who stole Christmas I for one have never been very fond of the season. Blame it on the impossibly hard-to-avoid traffic and the crush of people in the malls spending their hard-earned money like there’s no tomorrow. I would probably have made Ebeneezer Scrooge proud because as far as I could remember Christmas was never that special to me. Just like the majority of Pinoys, I’ve always equated the season with holidays and food binges but never about the real reason for the holiday, which is the birth of Christ. But inspite of the obviously negative vibes on my part I still celebrate it like everyone else though not as elaborate and, well…”Christmassy” (yeah, I made that up), complete with the uber generic “Merry Christmas” greeting that one can only take so much of. And, in spite of my unabashedly “Scrooge-like” attitude towards this season I still manage to squeeze out a few bucks from my wallet for gifts (that is, IF I find the time for gift hunting) and the traditional “ang pows” (Money gifts) for my nieces. Yes, I’m still a softie at heart when it comes to family.
As of this writing I’ve already received a couple of unoriginal forwarded Christmas wishes on my phone. Great. I could’ve just said thanks though text with the usual “same to you” reply (how unoriginal, no?) but really, the season have never been that merry for me, particularly this year. Why? Because this will be my first Christmas without my mother. Mama passed away last November, after a month and a half of going in and out of the hospital — which explains the reason why I haven’t visited this and every other blog for some time. I wish I could say that she’s in a better place now, just like what everyone around me is harping, and that I should be happy her pain and suffering has finally ended. But… should I be? Really? How can I be happy knowing that I again failed, as it was with my Dad, in my responsibility as a son? Not that I was never able to take care of her, I did, but perhaps I should have done more.
It’s been over a month now and I still couldn’t quite accept what happened. I miss her terribly, and although our relationship may at times be, well… tempestuous, we remained tight. Yes, we do have our moments, like arguing over inane things (then again, don’t every mon-son relationship have one?). It was inevitable, I guess, when you have two headstrong people living under one roof (and guess who I got it from?). But, like everything else it’s a forgive and forget kinda thing for us. We may have our misunderstanding one day and be buddies the next, as if nothing happened. Although I took care of her financially, the last two years after she was first diagnosed with kidney problems she began to depend heavily on me, as I was the only one among the siblings without a family to support therefore have more than enough resource for her meds which can be freakingly expensive, by the way. It’s was, I admit, kinda hard on my part (try balancing your household budget and life-saving med and you’ll know what I mean) but it was my responsibility as the oldest child and I intended to honor that.
It’s all over now, and I’m trying to move on, but there are times (and many of them) when I couldn’t help but think about her and cry. It’s pretty damn hard on my part accepting things as they are, especially when I was beside her as she gasped her last breath of air, looking at me, and then slowly sink into unconsciousness. Truly, the most painful thing one could ever experience in life is to watch the very person who gave you life slowly wither away. The doctors did try to revive her but to no avail. She passed away after that. Admittedly, part of me wanted to see her end her suffering and go, but a part still held on to the hope that she’ll get better and live to see another decade. But that’s like shooting at the moon.
These days, I often find myself asking, what if I had tons of money and had given her the best medical care possible, would she have lived longer? Have I been a good son? Have I made her happy? All those questions would remain unanswered for now, at least until we meet up. Writing this post I’m all alone in the house (the maid took the day off), with two dogs sleeping at my feet as companions. I don’t know, I love being alone at times being a privacy nut and all, but it felt weird knowing that I now do not have anyone to talk to and share stories with over dinner.
It’s sad that I chose to post this piece instead of wishing whatever is left of my readers Christmas cheers for my blogging comeback, or sort of comeback since I still have yet to get over my laziness. But hey, it is never too late to wish one a merry Christmas, right?