This is our fourth Christmas without Clea. We are in Hoi An, Vietnam, trying to avoid any Christmas celebrations. Clea’s brothers no longer believe in Santa Claus so I do not have to pretend to deliver any presents. We have not had a Christmas tree since Clea died. The boys have stopped asking. Occasionally, one of them reminds me that I promised Clea a fake Christmas tree the year she died.
I think her cousins are all spending Christmas in their own homes. Clea’s grandmother will be alone with one of my sisters because my father is in a high-care psychiatric hospital. That’s not a very merry Christmas at all.
We thought that Vietnam would be an easy country to visit to escape the Christmas festivities but no, all the hotels and tourist areas are full of Christmas trees, fake snow and Christmas carols. It is more the worship of Santa and presents than the Christian idea of Christmas. I was enjoying Vietnam until the hypocrisy of Christmas arrived. I may be many things but I am not a hypocrite.
As a non-believer and a non-shopper, I have difficulty finding anything of interest in Christmas. I intensely dislike the commercialism and marketing associated with Christmas present shopping. People seem to buy for the sake of buying even though they cannot afford all those presents. There is a lot of pressure to be part of the ‘festive season’. I don’t have any religious beliefs associated with Christmas so I see very little in the so called ‘celebrations’ surrounding Christmas. I find what the Vietnamese are doing to be so fake that I can’t even fake a bit of enthusiasm myself.
Clea loved Christmas. She loved the excitement of getting presents. I do not know what an almost 10 year old girl would want for Christmas. I have seen many little presents for Clea in Vietnam. In the middle of the night, Jordi said that we should buy Clea a present and leave it at her grave. I’m not sure why he thought of that in the middle of the night.
I sat on a bus yesterday thinking about Clea and Christmas. Tears dripped down my cheeks as I realised that this was our fourth Christmas without her and that she only had six Christmases in her life. Six is not many. Not enough for your dreams to come true.
I can’t find any chocolate coins in Vietnam for my sons but I did leave some for Clea when I went to the cemetery before leaving home. I have my lotus flower candle which we will light tonight and may be float on the river in Hoi An; depends on the weather.
As I have said many times, I have only one wish, one dream, and that is for my daughter to be with us. That dream will never come true so I do not wish for any presents at Christmas. I have no need of anything. What I want, I cannot have.
Merry Christmas Chickie. I love you. I miss you.