Christmas Eve: The Ending I Would Not Have Written

Christmas is the hardest time to be disowned. It’s when I miss my father the most. I often think about our best Christmas as a family back in 1979. My father had just lost his job, and yet it was a rich, happy time. My aunt and cousin took the train from Chicago to New York to join us for Christmas. I baked Christmas cookies from early morning to midnight for three days straight. I saved my entire baby sitting money to buy special, meaningful gifts for everyone. For my father and stepmother, it was a copper art work of lions that my Dad had admired while Christmas shopping. He said he couldn’t afford it that year, but that one day, he would get it for him and his wife. I worked extra jobs to be able to buy it for them. My Dad shed a tear when he opened his present.

This year will be the hardest. Can it be any worse than last year? My father passed away unexpectedly Christmas Eve 2009. He had battled chronic Leukemia for three years. I never knew. Nobody told me. My husband got a call mid morning, so he’s the one who actually broke the news to me. That’s the other painful dimension to my disowning: my father is famous in certain circles so the news of his death reached the radio, the TV, and the Web before it reached me.

Later that night, when I was supposed to be tracking Santa on NORAD, I read his obituaries. I was not listed as a survivor in any of them. I would later learn that this was intentional, at my step mother’s request. I would like to know what my father’s dying wish was.

Did he really never think of me again? Or could he simply not get out of that cycle of how he dealt with pain. If something hurts, bury it, and bury it deep. Be an ice cube and nothing hurts. That was always his way. I suspect that even if he wanted to reach out to me, my stepmother would not have allowed it.

Christmas Eve will forever now mark the loss of my father. It also marks the end of 20 years of hoping for reconciliation. How does one recover when hope is lost?

I cry at the worst moments, unexpected times, and even at what should be joyful moments. I pray for the pain to go away so my children and husband don’t lose to me to sorrow.

For so long, I imagined a happy ending to the situation with my father. I never imagined this one.


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