As we approach Thanksgiving many of us will look upon the empty chair at the table. The hole deep within our heart will now be staring openly at us. Holidays are hard. If you are early on in your grief journey you may wonder how you’re going to get through the day.
The empty chair is a symbol of remembrance for a loved one who is no longer with us. Some families even leave a place setting on the table in their honor.
As you sit around the table perhaps you can exchange stories of past Thanksgivings when your loved one was still with you. Even if the stories stir up sadness, it’s okay if the tears are mixed with laughter and smiles as we reminisce about happier times.
The holidays may never quite be the same, but that’s because we are not the same. We are different now and that’s OK. This is the grief journey.
I will keep an empty chair at our table to remind me of the last Thanksgiving we shared together as a family before Melanie ran ahead to heaven. We will have some of her favorites, like cherry pie. Last year it was just 3 of us and we ended up with 5 pies! 😊 Yes, one of them was cherry, and we all had a slice or two in her memory.
Thanksgiving is a time we are meant to reflect on all we are thankful for. As for me, I will forever be grateful for the years God gave me, however short, to be Melanie’s mama. I will choose to focus on the love and the laughter, not the loss.
A time of total joy and happiness is now a mixture of grief and gratitude. I have settled in my heart that I will forever have a mixture of feelings on the holidays and place no expectations on myself otherwise.
Strange as it seems, this is part of the grief journey. I will continue to lean on Jesus – my rock, my deliverer, the one who continues to carry me through. That alone is so much to be thankful.