Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Empty Chair

Tonight there will actually not be an empty chair at our table.
Not actually, but I will see it.
Will you?
Who will?
Charlotte had a stocking this morning. There were three things in her stocking. One, a beautiful, folk-art type of angel, with a warm, brown face and aqua dress, with tea-stained wings and an embroidered face. This from her Nana and Poppy. Also from them was a tea-towel with an "angel sugar cookie" recipe and an angel cookie cutter. Lastly, from her parents, a beautiful 'lady in waiting' dolly for her cradle upstairs. It matches some of the other waldorfy type dolls that are in her cradle. Aoife loved the doll, wrapping it in her pink playsilk and walking around delightedly with it. Sigh, sigh. If only.
Greg wrote her a beautiful card. He is going to reframe the fabulous photo of her little feet resting in his big, strong hands. That is a lovely gift.
And what would she be like today, on her fifth Christmas, a beautiful, blonde waif of a girl with wide, blue eyes, and a devilish grin? Liam looked so like her at birth, and my three children all shared so many features at birth which Liam and Aoife still display, I sometimes feel as if I can easily conjure an idea of what she would look like.
Look like.
But be like? Shy, quiet, loud, funny, reserved, joyful, respectful, naughty, silly, magical, trustworthy, optimistic? What would my daughter be? Become?
Why must I never know?
I always look at her little pictures and wonder in amazement at how she was programmed to become someone, and we will never know what that program was.
Today we will all be together at Christmas. But not our eldest daughter. Not ever.
This Christmas so much easier than four years ago, so very much more joyous and so much less painful. But my wound is still open. I miss her so much.
Last year, at Greg's house, his mom set the table in the afternoon. As we all sat down hours later for Christmas dinner, we arranged ourselves around the table and realized that there was, in fact, an empty chair. "A mistake", his mother said, but we didn't see it as that. We left the chair there, empty, and Greg and I smiled to ourselves and cried a little as it sat there, empty, and our lives carried on.

1 comment:

Hannah said...


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