An Empty Chair-Dinner and Dancing
An Empty Chair, Dinner, and Dancing: We’ve had so much incredible support since my father’s passing two days before Thanksgiving that it wasn’t until LAST NIGHT that my girls and I had supper by ourselves. THANK YOU again to all who have made us feel so supported and loved. We will never forget your kindness.
Last night, I could see it coming. Dinner and an empty chair. I thought, “What if we three just watched a TV show on my computer while we ate? I’ll call it a Movie Night, right? Then I wouldn’t be looking across the table at an empty chair.”
That part of grief that shows up like an uninvited guest has been happening. I sometimes cry at random moments (some sappy commercials are THE WORST) thankfully, while at home, and my girls respond with a wonderful mix of humor, love, and compassion.
So young, they are unafraid of grief.
Back to the dinner, I figured there’s nothing to do but to embrace the moment. This moment of transition. So my girls and I set the table, sitting were we normally sit leaving Papa’s chair empty.
He used to share with us the news highlights of the day at supper-time. Breakfast time was reserved for sharing his insights on the etymology of words and how many languages are inter-related. It always began with relating a word and its meaning in various languages to Polish words.
Come to think of it, all roads led to Polish words. I always thought his deeper message was that we may speak different languages as a human race, but we really aren’t that far apart…Or maybe my father was thinking that all of us, somewhere, somehow, are of Polish decent.
I miss my father at our meals. I miss his advice and his profound simplicity in parcing a situation and finding a remedy. I miss his hugs and laughter.
I miss having a father in human skin that loves me and my girls unconditionally. I know God loves us unconditionally, but it sure was nice to have an example of that love in my father.
I suppose I’m in transition too as I learn to trust God even more in the spaces where my Daddy’s-Girl-heart yearns for my earthly father.
So it happened. Dinner. Just the three of us. We know Papa’s not napping. Sometimes I silently pretend he’s napping in the other room. Makes everything seem less final.
With the table set, my girls and I sat down to dinner. Sophia didn’t ask, “So Papa, tell us what’s happening in the news” as she usually did at dinner-time. (Note to Self: We need to transition that custom and still discuss news topics at the table).
The conversation flows well. We talk about Arie and Sophia’s day at school. Then we talk about movies and their favorite scenes. Before I know it, my girls, who have finished their meals, brought in an iPad and are now making up beautiful dances to the Best Showman movie soundtracks.
I am in awe of them as they laugh and dance together in my kitchen. I want to freezeframe every second of it and make wallpaper out of all the pictures.
Beauty and sorrow co-mingle. In the same room, in the same family, in our very hearts. That’s the deal. What if one makes the other more…Alive? All I know is, I don’t fight it anymore.
The theme I keep coming back to for 2018 is reflected in the title of one of the songs my daughters danced to that night…
Our call is to Come Alive. Come Alive in our messy, beautiful, incomplete selves. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Come to God with it…and In Him…Own it.