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Bittersweet Nostalgia For Christmas With My Grandfather

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Christmas is used to be my favorite holiday. It is a time where we have family gatherings with bunch of food around a house full of Christmas ornaments. There are lots of reasons why I love Christmas but as I look around, it is not the same anymore. Looking back, spending time with family was our way of Christmas celebration. We usually gathered at our house for our traditional dinner on a Christmas Eve. With the Christmas tree located at the center of our living room. Purple, green, red, pink balls along with the glimmering Christmas lights were all evenly aligned. Shiny bows and foiled paper glisten under the trees, inviting everybody to sneak one open before the actual day. Christmas carols were playing inside the house, giving the spirit of Christmas. My grandfather was cooking his specialties while my grandmother was busy preparing for the table. I, together with my cousins, was running around as we smell the aroma of freshly-baked cookies made by my mom. Finally, I could hear my aunt saying “Kainan na!” Everyone came rushing into the table that was like a buffet, dishes covered with food right after another. Eating, laughing, sharing stories brought everyone a little more happiness than usual. Everything was picture perfect not until we lost my grandfather. Everything started to change. Christmas does not feel the same anymore since the day he died. It was Christmas approaching and few days before his special day. It was one of the painful experiences that happened to us. We celebrated the holiday with grief as we saw the empty space at the table. The hustle and bustle of Christmas could somehow distract me from the pain of losing him but it did not hurt any less. Since that day, I have stopped believing in the magic of Christmas. We barely decorate Christmas ornaments. I lost the one who introduced me Santa wherein I used to hang socks in our window for the reason that Santa will going to put his presents there, little did I know that he was behind that thing. I lost the best cook of our Noche Buena. I lost the person I loved on Christmas. As the years pass by, Christmas comes and the excitement builds, the pressure to be happy is almost unbearable. Triggers that remind me of my grandfather seem particularly present at this time of the year. It has been years but I can still feel the void he left in my heart. The memories that I reminisce whenever Christmas approaches will forever bring me bittersweet nostalgia. Christmas can be a wonderful reminder of happy times shared with loved ones that have passed. However, it is not easy to hide bereavement through a façade nor to mask Christmas as satisfying joy. Christmas may not be the same anymore but life goes on.  

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10 December 2020

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