An Empty Seat At The Table

“Dying’s a really hard way to learn about life.” (From the movie, My Life.)

It has crossed my mind multiple times.

Cancel Christmas.


Cancel it for good. And while you are it, cancel Thanksgiving, too.

Those were my immediate thoughts 2 years ago after my mom passed.

Why celebrate a great time when the greatest influence in your life is not there?

Why celebrate a joyous occasion when the one person who taught you about joyous get-togethers is not there?

Why celebrate life and love and family, when the one person who taught you what those words meant, would not be there?

I had all the reasons.

In my haste, I forgot about two things.

Two of my mom’s favorite things.

My kids.

She cherished that time with them.

Cherished it.

Although her time with my kids was limited because she got sick, she loved every second of Christmas Eve with them.

Every damn second.

But it wasn’t fair to keep celebrating Christmas if she was not here.

Too many memories. So many great moments

Then it hit me.

Memories and moments, one and the same.

What if, after my dear grandpa had passed away, my mom had said, “Forget it Joe. We are done. No more celebrating because I don’t want to.”

I would have missed out on some wonderful moments, that are now precious memories.

So we will celebrate Christmas Eve for our third time without my best friend.

I will leave an seat empty at the table.



  1. Dan Watson December 25, 2013 2:52 am  Reply

    This is awesome thanks for sharing. Our parents are gone and many of my wife’s and my aunts and uncles are also in heaven. It was sobering to realize out is now our time to step up and be the memory makers they were for us. We have to define our generation.

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:41 pm  Reply

      Dan, you are so right and the time is now. Thank you!

  2. Melanie December 25, 2013 3:14 am  Reply

    Thank you for this! We must ‘keep on keeping on’ no matter how hard it is. It helps us grow in the end…

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:40 pm  Reply

      Yes and in so many ways, yes! Thank you!

  3. Amanda Hooten December 25, 2013 3:41 am  Reply

    Joe, this is so very powerful!! After losing my mother in law suddenly this April, and one friend to cancer this past week and the other friend to the tragic shooting on I-24 I can so relate!! We will be thinking of them all and leaving an empty seat! My heart breaks for them all and especially my wife whose birthday is tomorrow and her mom always made it special even though it was Christmas!! For my friends that I lost my heart breaks for them as well since NO ONE should have to bury their child either by sudden cancer or a senseless act of violence!! Thank you for sharing and as always my prayers are with you!!

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:40 pm  Reply

      You are a sweet soul. Thank you!

      • Amanda December 26, 2013 1:08 am  Reply

        As are you my friend!!! And a big thank you that you brought Sexy Back!

  4. Lisa December 25, 2013 4:40 am  Reply

    Beautiful…simply beautiful. Merry Christmas, buddy!!

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:39 pm  Reply

      Thank you Lisa!

  5. Nancy December 25, 2013 11:06 am  Reply

    Wow, Big Joe…. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:39 pm  Reply

      Thank you Nancy!

  6. Cynthia December 25, 2013 1:21 pm  Reply

    Joe, this post is so true. Christmas is about making great memories all the while continuing to honor the memories and keeping your loved ones spirits alive. I tell my nieces all the time about my grandfather that I loved and they ask me if he would have loved them; I always answer YES! They love hearing the stories. Your kids will too.

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:39 pm  Reply

      Thank you Cynthia.

  7. Zach December 25, 2013 2:32 pm  Reply

    Well said my friend.

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:38 pm  Reply

      Thank you sir!

  8. Joyce December 25, 2013 3:14 pm  Reply

    You are making some wonderful memories for your children. Cherished memories like the ones you have of your mom.

    • Joe Dubin December 25, 2013 11:38 pm  Reply

      Thank you Joyce!

  9. Jim Morgan December 25, 2014 5:03 am  Reply

    Merry Christmas Joe!

    • Joe Dubin December 29, 2014 12:23 am  Reply

      Thank you Jim! To you, as well.

  10. Elaine December 25, 2016 3:24 am  Reply

    Thank you for that precious post. So true, every year…

    • Joe Dubin January 5, 2017 4:31 am  Reply

      Thank you for reading!

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