There were empty chairs at the Christmas table. Some temporary, some permanent. Some have been empty a long time. Some we are still getting used to.
Others might think thirteen around the table to be a grand-sized party. The table was full and crowded. But the empty chairs were obvious to me.
I sat in my father’s chair. It made sense, as the only one of his children present. But the burden of taking that place felt heavy.
The party was congenial but I missed my natural allies.
Little things were difficult. A discussion of family likenesses to those not there. The bottle of wine my father always bought for Christmas. Traditions replaced by new alternatives.
The grief has been hard this year.
Things were wrong and there was no way to make them right.
I went to the ocean. I felt the cold water on my body, the sting of salt in my eyes and I let the ebb and flow of the pounding waves carry away some of the pain.
But still next year there will be empty chairs at the Christmas table.