An Empty Seat at the Christmas Table
The song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” For many people it is, but for countless others “It’s the most difficult time of the year.”
For those who are homeless, estranged from family, broke, heartbroken, and just plain broken, the holidays are not joyous. They are filled with sadness, loneliness, emptiness, heartache and fear. Even in the best of family situations, holidays can end in disappointment.
There were many years with my daughter lost in the belly of her addiction Beast where I went through the motions of Thanksgiving and Christmas, only to let out a sigh of relief when they were over. Christmas was especially difficult for me. For years, I would proclaim to my husband at midnight on Christmas, or on the morning of the 26th of December, “I made it.”
There is no way to replace your loved one and there is nothing wrong with feeling moments of sadness. But as you look around your Christmas table this year and stop at the empty seat, allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you need to feel. Then, look around once more. Rather than focusing on the empty seat, focus instead on the family and friends at your table. Stop and let yourself to feel the love, gratitude, joy and peace sitting in each seat.
For parents of addicts, this can be an especially painful time of year. For all of you who are trying to enjoy your Christmas with an empty seat at your table and a hole in your heart, I hope that you are not holding your breath, waiting to say “I made it.”
Valerie Silveira is an award-winning author, international speaker and Beast slayer. Through the devastation of losing her daughter over and over to the addiction Beast, and finally losing her to a senseless murder, Valerie empowers others to stand up and fight for their lives. She is the creator of Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast and the Still Standing Sisterhood membership program. Valerie uses her books and Sisterhood to guide women in their quest for happiness, peace, and purpose. She builds up women of courage who stand strong against any Beast in their lives.
Until her death in August 2016, Valerie chose to call her daughter Jamie, “Jordan.”