Pen in hand, she stares at the empty pages of her journal hoping to write a list of all she's grateful for this Thanksgiving. She closes her eyes and hears the laughter bounce off the wooden floors and echo through the newly painted home and takes a deep breath. Her heart aches for a moment and she can feel the tears begin to swell as she blinks quickly in hopes that no one will catch a glimpse of her pain. "Keep it together," she thinks to herself. Closing the journal she jumps to her feet and makes her way to the dining room. Unstacking the pearl white dishes, she begins to set the table. She looks at the six chairs that fill her table, sighs and places the four dishes in hand at their proper seats. Each place setting is stacked with layers full of details that make her heart soar but it's the place cards she's having a hard time facing. Four napkin ties embellished with handwritten calligraphy that perfectly spell out each of her family members' names. Once placed upon the dishes she stands back and embraces the set table. Six chairs, four place settings. Two empty seats and a broken heart. Quickly she runs to the kitchen and grabs two more place settings and fills the empty seats. Hands shaking, she writes the names of her sons, gone too soon, and fills the empty seats in hopes of filling her empty heart. By the time it's completed her face is filled with rushing tears and uncontrollable grief. She stands back and thinks, "There, that's perfect. I've saved a seat for you. My table is full. My heart is full." She wipes her face and joins in the laughter of her two children playing on the living room floor. She glances back to the wooden farm table that holds the names of all she's longed for, her family, and she gives thanks to God quietly. She's grateful.
Dear Mama with the Empty Seat(s),
Know my heart is with you this Thanksgiving. I know the pain all too well of longing for the full table you once imagined and the baby giggles your heart longs to hear. Know you're not alone. I know the pain of decorating for Christmas and hanging a stocking only to be left empty like your heart feels when the Holidays come around and remind you what's gone too soon. Know you're not alone. I know the pain behind the list of "I'm grateful for's" because there's still a chunk missing in the life you once dream of. Know you're not alone. As you set your table this year and the empty seat reminds you of all that was lost, know you're not alone. Save the seat, write their name and take a moment to embrace the table that holds the names of all you've long for, your family, and thank God because I promise you, through all the pain and heartache you have endured, He is still good. Yesterday, today and I promise He'll still be good tomorrow. And sweet friend, remember you are brave, loved and prayed for. Know you're not alone.
From One Mama to Another - Blessings.