Christmas Without Nengkoy

Last Christmas, like any other Christmases in the past, I woke up late.  I have always considered Christmas Day as my laziest day of the year.  If there would be a day that I would give myself as a gift, it would obviously be the Christmas Day.  It is the day when I would spend inside my bedroom all day – relaxing, slackening and lazy-ing (if the latter is a word).

Part of my respite was to just watch YouTube videos all day and peek at what my social media friends have been posting.  Surprisingly, the first YouTube video that I watched last Christmas made me sob and whimper.

2021 is the first Christmas without Nengkoy, my mom.  That is why my family’s Christmas Eve dinner was totally different for the first time.  Absent was the star of our traditional Noche Buena.  Though the Christmas food was really good, the Nengkoy-flavor was not there which I guess I would have to get used to in the next Christmases to come.

me & nengkoy (my forever star of Noche Buena), christmas 2019

The song is so moving, it made me miss my mother this Christmas.  And though my mom will never be forgotten – she’s part and will always be part of my daily prayer – I guess I need to simply just get used to this kind of a Christmas set-up.

Hold Tight

Some vivid childhood memories that I have with my mom are the situations when she would hold my hand when we cross a street.  My young brain was instinctively programmed by my mom that the starting point of crossing the street is by initially grabbing my then little hand.

Her grip turning firmer to my young little hand is the signal that we would have to commence striding a street no matter how narrow, busy or dangerous the crossing would be.  I consider this simple yet distinct memory as a symbol and representation of my mother’s care, love and attention.  Though the childhood experience of crossing a street with my mom seem too plain and too basic, I also consider her firm grip as a way of conveying that while crossing the street, I would be just fine.

one of the last two photos I took of me and Nengkoy

On the last day of my mom on her deathbed, I was the one who was gripping unto her hand.  It was me whom she was with when she crossed not a busy highway, not a narrow road and not a dangerous street.  And while she crossed over to Joy and Forever, as if to symbolically reciprocate back her care, love and attention, my hand firmly gripped hers.  I then gently whispered and conveyed to her in a reassuring manner that everything and every people she would leave behind will be just fine.  This too would be one of the most vivid memories of my life.