The holidays haven’t officially started, and I’m already having a difficult time. This year, the same as last, there will be an empty seat at the table and an empty space in our hearts. My mother passed away in July of 2017. I haven’t been the same since. Her absence leaves an emptiness that can’t be described, nor filled. It just sits there, in my heart, always.
This is the second holiday season without her, but it’s proving to be harder than the first. I’m not sure why this year seems harder to comprehend and accept. Maybe because last year I was in complete denial about her forever absence. Maybe because I was running on pure adrenaline to ensure my children didn’t feel the heartbreak as much as I was. Last year was tough and gut-wrenching, but this year it’s as if the wind has been knocked out of me.
I go through bits of denial, confusion, sadness and complete shock, even after a year without her. Several times a day I think of all the things I wish I would have said or asked her. I think about all of the things she is missing, all of the things she isn’t here for and should be. I think about her smile, her laugh, and the way she would still cuddle with me at 35 years old. My son said it best the other day. He said, “Mom, I miss Memeré. I miss her all the time, even when I’m doing things I love. Even when I’m playing Mario Odyssey and I’m happy, I miss her.” It’s simple but true. We miss her, always.
As I sit here in my own grief, I think of all the families out there with empty seats at their table too. I think about all of the other families dealing with the same emptiness, loneliness and sorrow. I hate that we share this unique grief and heartache.
To those of you with an empty seat this holiday season:
To those of you with a full table:
Friends, I hope you celebrate the people and traditions you have. I hope you never take them for granted. I pray you treat everyone you meet with kindness. You don’t know the trials and heartache they might be facing. Most importantly, I hope you celebrate the fact that we are here to enjoy another day with those we love.
Wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life, Justin. She’s the mother to a kind-hearted daughter named Hattie, a rambunctious son named Hutson, and the baby and “Grand Finale” of the family, a son named Hyland. Chelsea recently left her job as a special education teacher in Indianapolis to become a stay-at-home-mom. Little did she know she'd soon be led back into the classroom. She recently accepted a position with Anderson University supervising student teachers. She has a deep love of teaching and has always enjoyed helping inspire students. She is a Ball State graduate but an Indiana University Hoosier at heart. Chelsea’s mother is her inspiration, as she always encouraged her to write. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. She decided to honor her mother's wishes. She started writing and sharing it with the world. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made.