The 2008 is an afterthought since the joy of Christmas is experienced with the people around you. Since mum slipped away at Christmas time in 2004, Christmas just hasn't been the same for me. This time of the year I remember all the things she used to be up and about doing - sprucing the house; making and apportioning the Christmas sweets to give to the neighbours; supervising the kitchen; and of course getting us children in line with the Christmas spirit.
But we don't hold on to our loved ones forever. And life is often a liar. Battling desolateness I put up the Christmas tree between 7-9 pm on 21 December. Dad lent a hand 8 pm onwards. He was telling me this is the first year he was sending Christmas cards.
Downstairs our neighbour's eyes had dark circles round her eyes. She had lost her young husband last July. 'Read between the lines' she had said, when I asked if she was not getting any sleep. She had not even made it for mum's Mass on the 20th in the crisp morning air at 7.30 am at St Andrew's church built in 1564 -the year Shakespeare was born.
In Goa we live with History. Our loved ones become relics we never cease to love.
In a few hours dad and me will be heading towards Bluberry Hill - the venue of another wedding reception. The last was a few days back at Kesarval Lawns. One has to handle the ache, the best one can - even if it is Christmas Eve in Goa