Mariel’s Christmas Tree

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I had originally written- off Christmas this year. Of course, I could not get myself to get into the holiday mood because of my present situation. I’ve told you before how it breaks my heart to even hear “Silent Night” played on radio or at the mall. It just reminds me once more how my life is now so utterly incomplete. And that maybe I can never be happy or whole again. How can I even think about being “home for Christmas” when Mariel’s no longer there to make it a joyful reunion for us. For she had simply made it all worthwhile. And now it pains me to even think about “noche buena” and the coming yuletide season. Days are filled with bitterness and lamentations.

But even if it resulted to another Sisyphean ordeal for me, I had decided to put up Mariel’s Christmas tree last night ( you can see a photo of my “valiant” attempt above). Because I knew how much Mariel looked forward to putting up our Christmas decors each year, I had to do this one even as it meant tears again with each “unwrapping”. Because even tiny little colored balls had heaps of memories in them. For I know how Mariel had carefully chosen each one. We had spent countless hours together looking for them at shops in the mall, even though I was not quite totally enthusiastic back then. For you know, we husbands and men often see these things as cheerless chores. Now I know better.

Mariel had planned for the yearly themes. Sometimes it was lilac, sometimes it was blue and silver. Or red and gold. There was even a time it was traditional Russian motif, complete with the onion-shaped golden ornaments. Mariel was a genius at getting our humble abode to look like a perfect “Homes and Gardens” scene. She was very creative and never really spent extravagantly on the project. ( I’ll let you in on her “trade secret’, she actually thought it best to buy some of the Christmas decors in January when they are on “sale” and find imaginative uses for them at the year’s end. Now you know why I loved her so)

I also managed to set up only the Christmas tree on Saturday night. The are many more Christmas “touches” and adornments that I know Mariel would want me to put up from her boxes of goodies. And, I do this wholeheartedly for her. For as long as I can and no matter if I may have to roll that boulder as Sisyphus would forever, I will make sure to have Mariel’s Christmas tree up each year. If only to again serve her memory. If only to get a chance to once more tell her how much I love her.

I love you Mariel. I hope my little decorating “experiment” made you smile tonight.

(I promise that”I’ll be home for Christmas”, for you Mommy)

Another dog day at the mall

I went to the mall today. It was tough just getting from the entrance to the exit. Of all times, they decided it was a good day to play “Silent Night”. Books on grieving tell you to expect the unexpected. But nothing prepares you for when the feelings hit you. Yes I’ve lost my Mariel less than a month ago, and if you care to know it feels like having a 30-pound iron ball trying to escape through your chest cavity every time.

I dread the coming holidays. Not to mention Mariel’s birthday which is coming in some two weeks. The experts again advise you to plan in detail how you want to spend those days. To avoid having to deal with the stray memories. I don’t know about you but the only reason I live now is because of those memories. I will go through those days, cherish the memories and there really are tons of them. As weekends were spent mainly cuddling each other, with our daughter Sam. I will also probably cry a lot. Crying is good. Crying heals, albeit so slowly. Crying keeps you less numb, at least for some minutes. Crying keeps you from dying. I can’t tell how long I have to deal with more dog days.

By the way “dog days” are technically the hottest days in the year, when everything seems to stand still. Right now, I feel like I’m strolling underwater, just trying to make it to the exit. By the way, I forgot to mention that its October 19, it’s just past lunch and I’m at the Glorietta mall and a bomb just went off. You can follow the rest on TV. I’ll be sitting it out some more. The “mortars” exploding in my chest are more fearsome to me.