Thanksgiving Reflections & Empty Chairs

Today is Thanksgiving Day; the day many of us will gather at the table for food and fellowship with family, friends and loved ones. We will enjoy each other’s company as we reflect upon the people and things in our lives which make us happy. We will express gratitude for our families, friends, jobs, homes which protect us from the elements, vehicles, and possibly even our ice-makers, coffee pots, dishwashers, and other creature comforts and conveniences.

Many of us will eat too much as we express gratitude for our bounty. Sadly, however, some will gather at the Thanksgiving table only to stare at the empty chair where a beloved friend or family member should be sitting. These people will long for the companionship of days gone by.

This week I have watched in horror and sorrow as two of my friends lost beloved members of their families in two senseless and unrelated tragedies. One was killed in an accidental shooting; the other was killed by a drunk driver. In both cases, the family member who died was very young. In both cases, the family member who died left two small children behind.

Does the fact that their deaths occurred during Thanksgiving week make them more tragic? Any time loved ones die, families are left to grieve, but during the times when people are focused on gathering together, the loss may seem more glaring. Perhaps another thing that makes the loss of these two people so horrific is the senselessness of their deaths, their young ages, and the children they left behind.

I woke up this morning thinking that if either of the two young people who lost their lives had been my family member, I would be in no mood for Thanksgiving celebrations; yet, no one can stop time. Thanksgiving arrived on schedule, and I cooked for my family as usual. As I looked upon each beloved face, I was thankful that each was in his or her chair.

My heart goes out to those of you who have empty chairs at your Thanksgiving tables. I am so very sorry for your loss…

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