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Thursday, December 20, 2018

There's an Empty Chair...

How do you celebrate this Holy season when loss leaves you hollowed out and hurting?  Sometimes it's just so painful.  For those who are struggling with an empty chair at their table, may you feel my love stretched across the miles. It's hard.

Grief and the Holidays.  Much has been written through the years.  Might I share just a few more words?  Alexandra Rosas...she has felt the sting of grief... losing her nephew earlier this year and her mother just a few years before... Alexandra is navigating the minefield of loss while choosing to hold familiar traditions for her family.  She speaks to the heart of all that is broken for the grieving...

"It just feels wrong to celebrate, as if you're ignoring their absence.  It also feels wrong to dwell on their loss, especially when you have children at home.  What you want is for the ones you love to be around you.

After my nephew's death in January, I began to see a grief counselor.  Last week, I asked her for advice on how to navigate the coming holiday season.  I told her I wanted to avoid the whole thing altogether, as the sorrow has just knocked the wind out of me.

She put into words what I couldn't, explaining that the loss I felt, besides the obvious grief, was also a break in a pattern  She noted how the holidays make glaring the reality and permanency of the losses I've experienced.  It's not limbo anymore - it's right there in the empty chairs.  It tells me they are gone, and won't be coming back.

'You can't go around this.  You'll have to face it head on.  You'll have crushing moments, but you'll have memories too.  You can push it all away for now,' she said, 'but it will come back again until you live through it.  The manner in which you spend the holidays won't change the ache of loss.'

I'm still not sure how we're going to handle the next few weeks. All I know is that we have to bravely make our way through it all without stopping the tears or the laughter in those wonderful memories.

We will survive this first season without them, feeling so very fortunate to have loved them so much."

~ excerpt from Alexandra Rosas' Empty Chairs

Tears and Laughter, truly we have been fortunate to have loved so much ... that is grace for the grieving this season.

Praying for each one that is facing an empty chair at the table this coming week.  And trusting in the One who loves us too much to leave us alone in the valley of loss.

That baby in the manger... he is all about lighting our path and bringing us safely home where the table will never be empty and our broken hearts will be made whole.

My Love, Always,

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