The empty chair opposite mine

Alzheimer’s disease,

Grief, Serenade 2 Seniors


Before my husband passed away, my birthday had always been a day filled with love and giving. And, I was thankful for what I had. On the first birthday after his passing, his empty chair at the dining room table was a constant reminder of my loss. The knowledge that he would never again sit opposite me as we spoke about our blessings or our problems, caused me a great deal of pain and the effort to remain seated till the end of the meal required determination. Grief was my all-encompassing companion.

The following year on my birthday, the empty chair opposite taunted me, reminding me how alone I really was. It was also a constant reminder that my husband had gone forever.

A full 365 days later, the emotion that sat opposite me on my birthday was resignation, and suddenly, my husband’s absence was almost as much a part of my life as his presence had once been. Amazing as it sounds, I found some comfort in that.

My children missed their father too and we spoke openly about things he’d said and done. I think it was then that I became resigned to the reality of widowhood and was able to be grateful for the good things in my life. I was even able to enoy some of them. I am aware of the fact that many people are in less fortunate positions.

February, 2014, will be four years since my husband’s passing, and I hope by then that I might use the word okay. Missing my husband no longer consumes me as it has become a large part of my daily life. I realized this when I heard myself laughing the other day, and looked across at the empty chair opposite me without flinching.

empty chair

1 thought on “The empty chair opposite mine

  1. Caroline Kaufmann

    A well written reflection on Alzheimer’s. My mother died with it. She was remarkably cheerful, each to please, and the only one in our family who could drink milk shakes and not gain weight. I counted her breaths as she died. It meant a great deal to me to be with her at the end of her life as she had been with me throughout most of mine.


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