My Christmas and New Year 25 years ago

How can I forget the Christmas of 1983 if it still brings back painful memories to us. December 21 when our cousin from Nueva Ecija fetched and told us that our grandmother died that morning. I was in Senior year in my high school then. I felt very sad because I am a real grandma baby. I was always accompanying my grandma in going to church, the one who made sure that the fish she will be eaten have no bones and the one who massages her whenever her muscles were in pain.

She was approximately 90 years or older according to her. She didn’t know her exact birthday but she said that she was already born when the Spanish invaded our country. My grandma died on a natural way, she simply didn’t wake up. The whole family except for my elder sister Rosie and my father, who was paralyzed that time, were the one who left in our home in Tarlac. The interment took place at the Christmas Eve, but before we buried our grandma, my sister hurriedly went to Nueva Ecija to tell us that our father had astroke and he’s in the hospital. He was on a serious condition, so the family decided that some of the members went to the hospital right away and the remaining members attend the interment. I go with the group that went to my father.

The doctor told us that my father had a serious condition and that we must prepare ourselves for the worst scenario. During his stay on the hospital, although semi conscious, I noticed that the left side of his body that was paralyzed before was moving. It gave me a positive idea that somehow he will be okay. I was with him in his fourth day in the hospital and I saw that he was responding well with the nurse who got his blood pressure. But when I went back the day after, I cried and feeling hopeless with his condition. He was no longer responding and his eyes has no life at all, they were too foggy. And he was on a total coma. The doctor suggested to my mother that it’s better for us to bring him home because he was heading on his final stages.  On the sixth day,  the family finally decided to bring him home with only a dextrose with him. We all there for him and at exactly 4pm, he finally fulled his last breath.

I feel a terrible sadness, the sadness I first experienced with my life. I cried and want to scream. At Christmas Eve my grandma was buried and now, while everyone is happy and noisily celebrating the coming of New Year, my father was being embalmed.

The ironic part of it is, before, my father only go home to visit and and be together with his family every December 31. Only my mom was visiting him every month to get our financial support. After our restaurant was burned and the second one didn’t survive the Martial Law era, my father was only employed as a chef in a Chinese restaurant. He dedicated his life working just to support our big family. We are 8 siblings plus my mom and the only time he was with us is every New Year’s Eve. Now, he finally left us in New Year’s Eve too.

It was 25 years ago, but I still remember all the detais of the tragic and most  painful Christmas holiday season to us. I know I will still remember it for the rest of my life.

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