The Empty Chair

81640725-A0DE-462F-A7EA-5862E71E35C2Jon came out of his room and down the hallway toward the office where my friend and I were talking, me in my office chair and she on the opposite side of the desk, in the chair Mike once occupied. Mike and I had often hung out together in this room and many engaging conversations took place from these chairs.

Jon’s face lit up, as he peeked through the glass panes of the French door and the large fake fern blocking most of his view. He quickly hurried through the door then stopped, frozen, as heart wrenching disappointment flooded his expression.

This son, who rarely talks, clenched his fists, “That’s my dad’s chair! You are not my dad! Get out of his chair!” He yelled, his face grimacing in anger.

Surprised by his outburst, my friend stood up, looking from him to me, the ‘What should I do?’ question in her eyes.

As I watched this play out, a new wave of deep sorrow flooded through me. I began to cry. I understood, Jon had seen the silhouette of a person in his dad’s chair and for a moment, he believed Mike was there.

My friend finally spoke, “I‘m so sorry Jon. I didn’t mean to upset you. I won’t sit in this chair anymore if you don’t want me to.”

Anger was suddenly replaced by sadness. Jon turned, leaned his head against the filing cabinet and began to cry quiet, trickling tears.

I wanted so much to wrap him in a long embrace and cry with him but I knew he would never allow it. Attempting to maintain some composure for this grieving son who desperately needed comfort, I went to him and placed my hand on his shoulder. Barely. Only touching his shirt really, not his skin.

“I’m so sorry Honey. I know you thought that was Dad in his chair when you first looked. But remember, he’s not here anymore. I know that makes you sad, angry and disappointed all at the same time because sometimes it does me too. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I know you miss him.”

He wrenched his shoulder back and threw my touch away, anger surging through him again. We faced several more tidal waves of emotion as Jon processed his disappointment. Eventually he quieted and went to the kitchen.

Last night, this text came from my other child.

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And my heart breaks again.

My sons are still reeling from the loss of their father and the empty chair is but a reminder of what an amazing, caring, family man Mike was and how severely he is missed. I wonder at how blessed we were to have Mike in our days and how we’ll learn to move forward without him here. We each had our own way of leaning on him and loving him. His absence is an emptiness, a large sink hole, pulling us in with an unrelenting ache of sadness.

I pray for my children in their sorrow. I pray at some point, the weeping of this long night will be replaced with a renewed joy (Psalm 30:5) for all of us. I pray God will fill the emptiness of our hearts with His overwhelming love and goodness.

I pray…pray..and pray. From the empty chair.

 

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken hearts and binds up their sorrows.“

7 thoughts on “The Empty Chair

  1. Carmen Bermudez

    This is so gut wrenching sad, I am so extremely heartbroken for your family loss. I can’t even imagine the sorrow and the pain your all in. I pray that God will help you through this difficult time,I pray that soon the tears of sorrow will be replaced with joy. I am so sad for Jon and when I read this , I wanted to go over to your house and just sit and cry with Jon too. He Loved his daddy so much. You loved your partner so.much, David loved his dad too. May this love you all had for this wonderful person help you all heal.

    Reply
  2. Wendi Coe

    Oh Diane,
    I’m am crying for you too. Crying because you can’t wrap your arms strong your son to help him with this. Crying that you don’t have your son David with you so that you can wrap your arms around him for you both. Death of a spouse I don’t know, but that doesn’t stop me from hurting for you all. I love you guys! I can’t be there but I can continue to pray for you guys.

    Reply
  3. Chris Law

    My Friend,
    This one took me a long time to read . I was reading it to Dean and had to stop 3 times because i couldn’t see through the tears . Finally told him I couldn’t finish. He said ok . About 10 min. Later in did read the rest.
    I had such a lump in my throat i just cried for you , Jon and David .
    My heart breaks every time I think about you not having your best friend with you to talk and laugh with . Dean and I are praying for you and we are hear for you if you need anything. Love and prayers, Chris

    Reply
  4. Jean Mason

    This is so very sad, Diane. I can’t help but cry for your great loss. It’s easy to see what a wonderful husband and dad your Mike was. I know you look forward to being reunited with him some day… And THAT will be FOREVER.

    Reply
  5. Magdalena Waidner

    Oh, Diane, I am in tears. I can feel the heartache expressed by Jon and just want to reach out and hug both of you. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I continue to keep you in prayers for comfort each and every day.

    Reply
  6. Betty Newton

    I am so sorry for your loss and know that God will send joy in the morning. Weeping only lasts for the night. I used to quote that scripture all the time when going through my season of hurt and grief. I love your articles and think and pray for you often. Joy will come when you think of Mike because you had something so precious with him. I have never had what you had with anyone. Love to you and your boys.

    Reply
  7. Judy Wagmer

    Wow Diane even though I heard this story after it happened it still causes me to shed tears. I am so sorry you, Jon and Dave are having to experience this tremendous loss. It hurts me that you hurt. I wish you could push a button and speed up the process but it doesn’t work that way. All I can say is in time the pain will be less, the tears will slow down and the wounds will heal. It is a process that is not easy but God does get us through it. Love you and praying for you.

    Reply

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