Ever since my grandmother passed away on New Years' Day a couple of years ago, this holiday has been tinged with sadness for me. I know she would not have wanted it to be so - nobody liked a good party more than my Abuelita - but in my heart, there is no separating the holiday from the memory of her death.
Last year, the first New Years' Eve celebration since her passing, was particularly difficult. This year, I must admit, is a little easier, although I find my thoughts turning to her more and more as the holiday approaches.
My family used to always celebrate New Years' Eve in grand style. We would dress to the nines - as in evening dresses and suits - and head over to a fabulous party some of my parents' friends threw every year. Sadly, last year the hostess of these parties also passed away after a long battle with cancer. I suspect I will always think of Jackie during this holiday in the same way I will always think about my grandmother. They are just inextricably linked to the date.
This year, even though we are in Puerto Rico, the New Years' Eve celebrations are going to be pretty mellow. Our cousin from Brazil and her family are actually arriving today for a 4-day visit, and we are just having a small family gathering at my parent's house. There are several reasons for the decision to stay at home, mainly the fact that there are three children under the age of six who will never make it to midnight awake. Although this is a huge change from our usual Puerto Rican New Years' celebrations, I have to admit I am glad it's only us.
Sometimes, with all the hoopla and the parties, it's hard to just sit back and spend quality times with your loved ones. As I mentioned on last week's post, to me, that's what this vacation is all about.
This New Years' Eve, I will remember Abuelita and Jackie and endeavor to be happy instead of sad. I hope that the memories of these women will inspire me to emulate them in enjoying life to the fullest and always have a smile on my face no matter the difficulties I encounter in life. I will remember them with a smile - and with a smile enjoy my gathering with my family.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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