Posted by: Kathy | November 24, 2009

The Empty Seat

This is the second Thanksgiving that I will celebrate without my mom. For me, the holidays are a time when I really feel my mom’s loss, the fact that she isn’t with us anymore. It’s the empty seat at the table that will never be filled again. Someone important is missing, and no one can take the place of my mom.

In her book Healing After Loss, Martha Whitmore Hickman writes “Holidays are among the hardest times for those who have lost a loved one. They are so fraught with family ritual, the layered memories of years.” My mom worked very hard to make the holidays special for her family. From the food she cooked to the decorations, she put her love and her special touch into everything she did.

My mom died less than 2 weeks before Thanksgiving last year, with her funeral only a week before Thanksgiving day. I think I was still in shock as we celebrated Thanksgiving. I won’t go near any of the family traditions for this holiday or cook the food the way my mom did. No huge turkey or my great grandmother’s mashed potato casserole. Just a simple dinner for a very small family.

I am grateful for the family that I celebrate Thanksgiving with – my husband, my kids, and my dad. Maybe someday, when it’s a little less painful, I’ll cook the Thanksgiving dinner my mom once did. I’ll need her guidance, as I am no where near the cook she was. But for now, I will create different traditions, new ones, with my family. I will add my love to whatever I do and hope my family can feel it the way I felt my mom’s love for all of us. And there will always be a seat at the table for my mom. Her memory and her traditions will never be forgotten.


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