First Christmas Without Her


What is your idea of perfect Christmas? A song by Jose Mari Chan said “My idea of a perfect Christmas is to spend it with you…” There are many people whom I could spend my Christmas. There are my neighbours, friends, my sisters, my brothers, and my father. But, there was a person whom I truly miss this season and for the succeeding seasons. She is my mother who is now with God. It was the first time that she is not with us this Christmas.

There was nothing extravagant whenever we are celebrating Christmas, but it was made special by the bonding of our family while feasting the simple food serve on our table. My mother laughed out loud showing her broken teeth when my father teased her while we were eating. My niece was simply the ‘star’ of the family who always with my mother that day. She was the center of attention and my mother was the one who always told her to dance. After the simple banquet that we had, we will now be on our own. My father will go to our neighbour, perhaps to drink some spree and my mother will join him to sing on the videoke. Then my brothers and sisters will go to their friends’ house. This is how simple we remembered Christmas. After all, Christmas is not all about the expensive food serve on the table; it is all about the family bonding. Although my mother was not with us this Christmas, this does not mean that we have to be sad. For sure, she is celebrating her Christmas with Jesus, and this is the reason why we have to be glad.

Last year, I gave my mother a green blouse. She was so excited to open the gift when she saw her name on it, but she insisted that she would open it on Christmas. Of many years that I spent my Christmas with her, that was the first time that I gave her gift. I heard her once that she boasted the blouse to her friends that I gave her the dress as her gift. This made me glad how she appreciated the simple present that I gave her. This year, she received the best gift she would ever had. The gift of being with Jesus Christ— the real reason and essence of this season.

My mother left us last August. I am with her when she was brought to the hospital. The night before that I remembered that she was sitting on our chair with my youngest sister while pinching lice on my sister’s head. I was inside my room and I could see her back; her wide back. My eyes were blurred but I saw what she was doing. She was having a good time with her granddaughter, whom she as well pinch some lice on my niece’s hair. Yes, I could feel her happiness from that simple bonding that she had with my sister and niece.

The last time I remembered, it was before dusk, and she offered me bananacue, a banana fried with brown sugar. I told her that I am still full. And she even offered to have some drinks, likewise I neglect the offer. At night, there was a heavy rain, and she helped my brother and me to fix our roof. After that, I was sitting beside her watching singing contest. We did not talk too much for I am busy with the papers of my students. Her granddaughter sat beside her, and I told them to go to sleep because it was already late in the evening. Her granddaughter told her to go to bed, so she followed my niece.

The last time I remembered, it was late at night when she woke up, and I was still awake. She told me that the mayor had already announced that the class on Monday was suspended. At midnight, she looked at me on my bed. She always did that every night. She kept reminding me to fix my window that someone might break in the window.

And the last time I remembered, we don’t talk too much. I ignore her the whole day because I am busy with my take home paper works, and she was finding ways to have my attention, but I ignored her presence because I did not want to be disturbed.

If only I knew that was the last time that we will see each other again, I would have made the most of it. If only I knew that after all the good things that she had done to us, I would have said ‘sorry’ and ‘I love you’ to her. If only I knew that she would pass away the night after that, I would have kissed and hugged her— for sure, the last and the best Christmas gift that I would have given her before she left us.