Empty Chairs

October 28th 2022

I sit at the dining room table that came with the house we bought thirty six years ago. The now empty chairs that belong to it, have been used as tent poles for bedsheet tents that the boys played under. They have been stacked with the boys knapsacks and school books, held their winter jackets while they pulled their boots over thick wool socks. Even on the coldest days of the year she encouraged them to “get out of the house and into the fresh air”. The oldest boy now has a little hockey player of his own and is up and out of his house in the wee hours of the morning. Latest reports are that my son’s son scored a hat trick and has breakaway speed, dazzles his adversaries and can handle a puck like a juggler. The younger son, now in The Netherlands sends pictures of his daughter and himself at zoos and playgrounds, on slides, climbing rock walls and in each other’s arms. Both my sons have embraced nature and when they have time in their busy lives have taken the old man for hikes through a nature preserve to Milton Bay or a scramble up and down Break Neck Ridge in Cold Spring. My grandsons have created games that award themselves points for the sights they see along the way. Keeping score in their heads as they see turkeys, deer and various rocks and plants. On summer hikes the younger boy squats in the tide pool looking for fish and rocks to add to his collection as the older boy skims smooth round stones with his father.

The sight of the empty chairs reminds me that I am alone. Alone in a tiny house built in 1929. The chairs bring back memories of lives well lived in a home that revolved around a whirlwind of a woman. Who’s presence was felt wherever she went. Her smile lit up the room and her laughter warmed your heart. I will visit her today in the rose garden where she rests. It has been nine months since she past. I feel like a character in an epic tale. A tale of a man living an idyllic life boasting to the world that he was the luckiest man alive to have the woman he cherished.

And like all epics stories he loses it all and sets out on a journey, a journey filled with challenges that are greater than his ability and somehow he finds the strength and fortitude to ford the river, climb the mountain and slay the dragons, but as he returns to the house that sheltered his family and sits at the dinning room table and looks across at the empty chairs, he weeps for the loved ones he once sat across from at the table that came with the house they bought 36 years ago.

5 thoughts on “Empty Chairs

  1. You write so beautifully, Dan. Those otherwise empty chairs are saturated with the love and loving experiences that feed your soul. And with that, you’re never really alone. xo

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