My First Christmas Without Her

No birthday calls.

No running through the airport to meet her at the wrong terminal.

No cutesy messages on WhatsApp or Facebook IM…

Zero. Nada. Nothing.

Only the love remains surrounded by an eerie silence. The void, a great abyss in my soul, that darkens and deepens, obliterating any encounter with a resemblance of joy. There is a sense of loss, of growing sorrow that seems to have no beginning and no end. I’m lost, floating listless in space, inches away from the event horizon that threatens to turn every gorgeous memory into a bittersweet point in time.

This is the first time since 1955 that modern history has been written without the Colonel’s blessing. She should be gallivanting through this planet’s stratosphere on a metal bird to destinations undiscovered and uncharted by her previous adventures. We no longer eagerly wait at baggage claim, wondering what goodies she had brought from her travels. There are no hugs, no kisses on the forehead exchanged as we rush back to the car patiently circling the pick up lane.

No ¡Feliz Navidad! for us…for me…

For the first time ever the bottom of the Christmas tree doesn’t have gifts signed from “Santa, love mom” or “De Los Reyes Magos, para el bookworm de la casa”. My letters to the North Pole went unanswered. The dedicated elf that acted on Santa’s naughty or nice list retired, forever. Cancer took away the main reason the holidays were bearable; the tales of beautiful fluffy snow falling on Fort Leavenworth; the need to wear ugly sweaters by the fireplace to celebrate that we had made it through another year together, and unscathed.

Instead of laughter, there are tears streaming down my cheeks whenever Bing Crosby’s White Christmas plays on the radio. I can hear her lovely soprano voice singing along through the flirtatious smile on her face. Nothing in life ever phased her, not adversity nor uncertainty. With much bravery and aplomb she admitted defeat and decided to let the invader win. There was no bucket list to check off. No miraculous drug trial that could have saved her. Steadfastly, and a bit scared, she resigned herself to living her last days surrounded by family and friends, in the house that had seen her become the matriarch of our clan.

There’s a part of me that pretends to be okay for her, to be strong, resilient, and grateful despite of barely surviving the atomic bomb dropped over our humble empire. The devastation to my inner peace almost irreconcilable. Anger, ire and increasing resentment cloud my mind, causing me to stumble through my responsibilities and commitments half coherent, 1/4 depressed, and 100% overwhelmed. Part of me is constantly fighting to remember all the good times enjoyed with this magical lady that could turn any frown upside down with her words of constructive criticism, wisdom and courage. The other part is pouring gasoline over the entire mess and lighting a fire so we can rebuild as quickly as possible.

Moving away from the pain is how we adapt and survive…

I’m caught between what was, what is, and what could have been. In a place where I can’t relate to happiness or success as well as I used to. My passion, my heart, my ability to hope lies buried in a grassy knoll overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, 3,000 miles away from my current location. Figuratively homeless because of her early departure.


Mom, I’m doing my best to keep the spirit alive, the keep the lights shinning. To keep my sister safe; to find joy in the small things. It is my belief that you’d be proud of me even if I failed. I just wish I could hug you one more time…

Happy Holidays!

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