Once again, the season of Christmas and New year celebrations is here, among other festivities for other cultures and religious beliefs. It’s a happy time of the year for many as it is a time for family and friends’ gatherings. Children are happy because they get to meet people they haven’t seen since the summer or perhaps since their last holiday gathering. They also get to be off from school and even more, the presents they get showered with. How can anyone not be in a good mood with all of this.
Once upon a time, I was one of those children. As I go back in time and remember all those special moments I lived with my family during this time of the year. It was magical. I couldn’t have asked for more. Being with my family, celebrating our traditions, eating wonderful food and opening presents from ‘SANTA’. Everyone with a smile, lots of laughter and lots of love. Oh How I miss those days. If I could just go back to one of those moments, I would stop to appreciate it just a little longer.
At that time, I didn’t know that what I had was so precious. Maybe because I was just a child and I thought this is how it would always be. Not knowing that the day would come and everything would change. Little did I know, that as time goes on, nothing stays the same anyway. And it all started with ‘SANTA’. The day I found out the truth, was the beginning of the end for me. The excitement was ripped away from me. And reality kept on creeping up on me year after year. And as I grew older, things changed even more. I started to understand better and I began to see things clearly. Till the day came and I lost it all. There was no family, no gathering, no laughter. All I was left with was memories. And things kept on changing again. Christmas had a new meaning, and different traditions. I got back some of what we had and I appreciated it even it was not the same anymore. Nonetheless, I was celebrating with my family and that’s all that mattered.
The day came and life took me into different directions where I had to walk away from these traditions and gatherings once again. It was tough. But thanks to social media and the video calling, I was able to be present with my family online as they celebrated. I remember a few years I brought in the new year, went to sleep, woke up and then I went online and brought in the new year with them live. It was incredible. I was happy. They saw me and I saw them. They were gathering just the same way when I was there. They were eating the same food, drinking the same drinks. Only difference; I was not there physically, but I was there with my heart and more importantly; online.
Here I am, about to live these moments again with my family. It’s my first Christmas to celebrate with them since many years. There are so many mixed emotions, however, as it will not be as I had always dreamt it would be. I may be back to complete what was missing from the group. But just as I arrived, someone had to leave. And it was not by choice.
We lost my grandfather earlier this year and it has been devastating for everyone. This will be our first Christmas without him. My whole life, I had grandpa there wishing me a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Even in the years I didn’t physically hug him and kiss him, either I heard his voice or I saw him online. Now all I can do is feel him and remember him; his voice, his touch, his laugh and most of all his warm hug. I miss him so much. I don’t know how I will go through those days. But I know just like every other times since my childhood, I will get through it somehow.
I see things so different now. I don’t take things for granted anymore. I know that each moment that passes never comes back. Each family gathering is a blessing even with its drama. Because the day will come when one member after the next will no longer be here, and you can never bring them back. No phone to call them and no Skype to see them, and no plane can take you to them. When they are gone, they are gone. And all you will have left is the memories and laughter you once shared.
Thank you Grandpa for blessing us with your presence in our lives all these years. I cherish you dearly. I am so grateful and lucky that I had a grandpa so loving like you. I miss you so much. And I will keep you in my heart forever. Merry Christmas Grandpa. I love you.