The Empty Place at the Table

So now my boys are all home at the same time…for a little while at least. Jordan and Dylan are home from college for the summer, and Logan of course, is always here (being still a freshman in high school). Dylan however will be leaving in about a week as he heads out on a six-week summer project to Lebanon with Campus Crusade for Christ. ‘Very proud of him but will miss him (again).

All that to say that tonight was our first dinner together this new summer season, almost one year after Roger’s death. Just me, Jordan, Dylan and Logan. At the table for dinner…without Roger. And it hurts, this dinner time hour without him. And it’s awkward. And I think honestly, none of us really want to be here doing trying to do this normal family thing because it just seems to magnify our loss. It hurts. And it’s hard.

And yet, I know we must. The avoidance of all the memories and the things that cause us pain will help no one in the end. So we must find the courage to walk through them. It’s like the chant in that children’s story about a bear hunt whenever the hunters come up against an obstacle in their path: “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it. ‘Have to go through it.”

Have to go through it.

And I know we must learn how to live without Roger, as hard and impossible as that seems to us. And we must be intentional about staying close and united as a family. We must stay connected by sharing about our day and our plans for the weekend and what happened at work or school today and whose turn it is to mow the grass and who needs to clean the kitchen after dinner and a hundred other mundane but necessary dinnertime conversations because they help keep us connected as a family. And they remind us that life must go on. That we must go on. That we will go on.

And as I say the blessing before dinner, I ask God aloud to help bring healing to this family this summer. Help us find our way. Help us know and remember that You (God) designed us to be interdependent, and that when times are toughest, that’s when we need each other the most, even when everything inside just wants to run away and hide. From the pain. From the reminders. From anything that lays open the wound. Again.

So dear God, please help us remember it’s ok to be sad and to cry and to grieve, both in moments of solitude and times of togetherness. Help us also know that it’s ok to laugh and be happy and find a way to move on. Whatever that looks like. No matter how hard that may be. Please God, just bring healing and peace to our hearts and minds.

And thank you in advance for your healing presence in this family’s life on any given day this new summer.

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7 Comments on “The Empty Place at the Table

  1. Dear Debbie and family. Wow it is so tuff. I can not say how sorry I am for your family to be going through this loss. God will only make you stronger every day, because you will have to make God your very best friend at all times. He will be with you and your boys at all times. Sometimes when we can’t feel his presence that’s because he is right by our side leading us through our sorrows one day at a time. when we look way back we can see this. Why us we don’t know. Why any one we don’t know. I can say I’ve lost my 3 brothers, my dad my daughter and been through alot of other things we dont have to talk about, drinking dosnt help the pain nothing on this earth But Jesus Christ will give you peace. And knowing that our better world is yet to come so we will all be happy and together again. I have learned I have no control over what is going to happen to my love ones just pray pray and pray and God will answer these prayers in his will not our and we have to accept what ever happens. We have scars on our heart ad Jesus had scars in his hands ours will heal in heaven until then we have to trust in him. I have cryied buckets and buckets of tears but Jesus has held my hand each time. Good tears sad tears all kind of tears through it all Jesus has been there for me. I’m still weak so I Prague for his mercy every day to make me strong. The devil is here to steal, kill and destroy our familys and tear them apart. We must stag stronger and fight harder. Please let’s pray for each other. I love you as a sister in Christ and a part of your Christian family. When we are down God will pull us back up it just takes alot of being gods best friend and praying. Stay strong because we never know what tomorrow will bring we must have our armour on at all times.

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  2. Debbie, your blogs always touch my heart! And my heart is heavy for you now, as I think about you and pray for you and your boys, your beautiful, wonderful boys that God has given you. You are a strong woman, and God will continue to give you strength to be the mother that they deserve and need!!
    They are blessed to have YOU as their mother..!! 🙂
    I pray that you had a wonderful Mother’s day surrounded by your boys!! love you!!! kathy

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  3. Finding your strength through Him, pouring that into your children, all wrapped up in your own complete transparency. My heart swells and aches all at the same time when reading this post. Hope, Pain, Healing…HOPE. Thank you for sharing your heart, Debbie. You are amazing and loved. Praying for your family.

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  4. I read this and wanted to cry. I’ve been there and it’s not easy and I have so much respect for you to open up like this. It never goes away, but you learn how to live with it and to remember the positive things in life. And remember that you are surrounded by those who love you! Love you Debbie! And I keep you and yours in my prayers!!

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