In the last few years, after letting go of my rental house, Christmas hasn't been the same anymore. For decades, I've always prepared for Christmas by decorating the Christmas tree, the house, and doing Christmas shopping. Believe it or not, I wasn’t aware that Christmas is around the corner yesterday!
Christmas is about family coming together, children opening their presents under the Christmas tree. I've been at my brother’s house since last Friday, keeping him company during a challenging time. There’s no Christmas tree here, no holiday activities—it's been too quiet. Yesterday, after asking him several times to join me at the park, he refused, so I went alone.
I was on Rosemead Boulevard, heading to Legg Lake Park in El Monte, but my mind was elsewhere. I passed it for a while before making a U-turn, thinking of the familiar route to a house I used to visit…
Upon entering the park, plenty of parking spaces were available. It was overcast. Winter makes the trees less lively, but as I walked near the lake, where hundreds of birds of all kinds were, I felt at home. Simply looking at them made my heart happy; nature has a special effect on my mood, instantly lifting me up.
While walking, a medium-sized dog ran aggressively toward me, barking. I got startled and used my purse as a shield until the owner quickly took the dog away. Then, walking around the lake with my feet almost touching the water, I noticed a bigger black stray dog searching for food. I felt scared and thought of my former partner who used to protect me. Feeling helpless, I tried to pick up a big branch to defend myself, but it was too heavy. Fortunately, the dog didn’t come closer. Next time, I’ll bring a stick for protection from wild dogs—it's a fear I haven't overcome for decades!
I'll be joining my children and Jayden this Saturday to celebrate our last Christmas together. It will be a special one! In the past several weeks, I haven't been around them. I kept myself busy to ease the feeling of missing them, which used to hurt deeply. I cried when Jayden refused to talk to me on the phone in Vietnam. I understood his feelings, so I learned to detach my emotions and stay strong through this separation.
There's no perfect life, but you can live with imperfection. Accepting inevitable changes in life is what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to sitting around with mom every morning, easing her aging pains, holding her fragile hand, and bringing her happiness for as long as she lives. Perhaps 20-30 years from now, my children will have similar sentiments towards me, or maybe I’ll return to the dust where I came from. Who knows what the future holds? What I know now is to cherish these next few weeks with my family and friends, embracing the love each day.
Thank You for everything, as always! ♥️
Crystal H. Vo
December 20, 2023