When someone says they will save you a seat it means that they appreciate your company and they desire to have you by their side. You are important to them and their time is more valuable with you in it. They request your presence at their special occasion and/or moment of joy because you make it complete. You make the function, regardless of what it is, more enjoyable and meaningful. That is why there will always be a seat saved for my mother, who recently passed due to lung cancer, at any and all events in my life.
I dreamt of her being there to engage in a dance with me on my wedding day, to spoil her grandkid(s) that the stork delivered to me and my future misses and to experience and celebrate all the other milestones that come along with being a son to a mother. Unfortunately she will not be able to join me physically, because these times, not unlike my heart; will be missing someone of beauty, splendor and warmth. She will, however, be there in spirit and that is why there will always be a seat reserved for her.
This holiday season is going to be extremely difficult to say the least, because what was once cheerful and exciting has now become cold and dreary. We all have painted on smiles like a clown, pretending that our spirits aren’t broken with the hopes of pulling off an Oscar worthy performance for “best happy family” for the sake of the kids and each other. We know we must be strong, for mom, but I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t fighting back the tears, that the pain from losing her wasn’t embedded on my being like a tattoo, crippling my soul and occupying my thoughts like a protester on Wall Street. My body was there and involved in the festivities, but my mind was locked away in a room with padded walls.
As a child, when the holiday season approached I anticipated the food she would make without measuring an ounce or reading from a recipe, just good old-fashioned know how. I wrote long lists about things I wanted for Christmas, the things I saw on TV, the hottest trends and of course all the things my friends had that I was envious of. Now the only thing I want is to have her back, to be able to tell her how much I love her and to see her happy and healthy again. The day you lose your mother is the day you lose your childhood, things aren’t the same, that amazement and bewilderment you once had toward life is now gone and replaced with a hard callous skin like that on the bottom of a foot that has taken many steps on hard ground.
Appreciate who you have sitting around your table now, because in the blink of an eye things can go from a celebration to a memorial. You could be faced with an empty chair where once a loved one sat, now reserved in their memory and for their honor. That vacant seat is a symbol of your love for the departed, a token of appreciation for who they were and what they meant to you, but without a doubt never as good as the real thing.