By: Jorjan B. Federiso
We all have dreams, and we all have memories some to treasure forever, some bittersweet and some that hurt too much to recall.
My greatest Christmas memory was of a cold evening in a sweet house filled with love and the galvanized water bucket filled with a rainbow assortment of sweet Christmas candies provided a sense of bounty and a feeling of being special.
Most of the gifts in our early years were homemade or practical necessities. Grandma was an expert of cooking “kakanin” and spent many days cooking kakanin for me. We girls usually received one purchased gift usually a doll, a game or a book but the best gift for me is my Grandma. Every Christmas I ask her to cook my favorite kakain which is “Bukhayo”. Every time she did that for me, my Christmas was really especial.
She said to me that the best gift that she receives every Christmas is me. When I heard that I hugged her tightly and kissed her like no one deserves my kiss, only her.
One bittersweet memory is when I was second year in high school. An unexpected incident happened, my Mama wake me up at 2am because my Grandma had been rushed to the hospital for emergency. I was shocked and I don’t know what to do. A tear fell down on my eyes because I am afraid of losing my Grandma.
I was seating outside the emergency room with my Mama, after a minute the doctor came out inside the emergency room. I can see into his eyes the feeling of being hopeless and depressing. I can’t express my feeling, it’s just like I’m walking in a very dark road. I’m afraid of the doctor’s message.
“Sorry ma’am, we did our very best but it’s not enough for her to recover, condolence”. Doctor said. As doctors and nurses were called and cries of apologies and expressions of grief were graciously extended, a big box full of thorns strike’s my way when I heard that voice. I walked into Grandma’s room and saw her like she just sleeping peacefully. I never thinking that she’s gone, all I want to think is she just sleeping and waiting for me to call her name.
Arriving at home to answering machine messages and panicked messages pressing me to call friends who can comfort me, I realized that my life would never be the same.
I went to my father’s room. He banged on walls and tables crying, “Why, why, why?” He repeated over and over. The intensity of his grief overshadowed my own and I put my feelings on hold, to be dealt with later, alone.
With people coming over the next day, I stayed up and made coffee, diversion for my grief-stricken soul. After my father went to sleep, I was finally able to cry like I’ve never cried before. My breathing was shallow and scenes from my life flashed before me in swift succession. My father’s face before me, I was unable to stop crying and shaking until finally I couldn’t breathe. Gasping for breath, I realized I had to get hold of myself. By sheer will, I somehow slowly stopped crying and didn’t cry again for over a year.
The Christmas that followed after the disconsolate or downcast incident seemed not as memorable as the earlier ones. I missed my Grandma’s recipes for me and her hugs and kiss every Christmas and everyday.
On subsequent Christmas, I confused joy with sorrow as I grieved for my Grandma and tried to celebrate my life! Never again could I totally enjoy a Christmas as in times past.
I see myself sitting with her so often looking at that seemingly prophetic sunset that one perfect moment in time that we had together as both the sunset and her life slipped away.