Day’s Journey through Grief and Loss

The Empty Chair

Somebody will face an empty chair this year for the first time or longer as tears roll down their cheeks for the loved one they lost. For the memories of No more to be created. For the regret of the time they lost and spent arguing over things that didn’t matter.

They will need Somebody to sit next to them and let them be, cry, and feel their pain; there are no words that can comfort a grieving parent, so please, I remember those who held me and said nothing. They, too, lost a child and knew exactly what I needed.

Give them space to grieve for a moment. Give the gift of silence, but don’t ignore them. Please give them the gift of allowance, let them be themselves for a minute, and the tide will recede. Will you give them the gift of remembering the one who sat in that empty chair? You don’t have to say a word; a hug will do.

Christmas Gift from God to a Grieving Mother

Behold Your Son

25Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:25-27

God hears our hearts and His answers come in the sweetest, most tender ways. Since my son passed, I have been pondering on Mary and John, the ones Jesus loved. When Jesus was on the Cross, He said, “John,” behold your mother, and Women, behold your son.”
Ray was my only son; if I needed anything, I knew I could call him, and he would come to help me. I always felt safe knowing he would not let anyone harm me; he was my protector in human form. Now, who would I call? I don’t have a son anymore, and I think, Lord, You gave John to care for, provide for, and protect Mary. Who will be there for her and care for her as a son should? I felt alone and abandoned; my only son was gone.

When Ray was alive, and I mentioned anyone calling me mom, he would say, “You’re my mom!” When he would say that to me, my heart would swell with joy because that was his way of saying I love you, mom, and I’m here for you. Last night, I met with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandbabies for Christmas dinner. I mentioned a few who referred me as a mom. My son-in-law was busy tending to the kids and quiet; I didn’t think he heard my conversation with my daughter, not that I was hiding anything; we were talking about old friends. My son-in-law finally sat down to eat his dinner, and suddenly, he looked me straight in the eyes and blurted out, “You’re my mom!” Oh, the love I felt in my heart brought tears to my eyes. It felt as though my heart was shocked and revived again. His words were like a balming oil that soothed the pain in ways I could never explain in words. Even my daughter was choked up.

Mary pondered her Son, Jesus, and kept precious moments in her heart. Last night on Christmas day, the Lord gave me a son as a gift to my broken heart. Like Mary, Jesus saw her grief as He hung on the Cross; He was dying, yet He was concerned for His mother’s well-being. He commissioned His beloved disciple to care for Mary as though she were his own mother. He knew how to soothe my pain with the comforting words of my son-in-law. This, too, I will keep tucked in my heart, and I will no longer refer to my son-in-law as such because he is my son. He always took care of me and protected me before, and I know he always will.

Father, You know the sorrows of loss because Your Son died on the Cross for us. We did not deserve such love, mercy, and grace. However, death did not overcome Him; He overcame death and rose again on the third day. Our hope is Your promise that we, too, will meet our loved ones again when Christ returns; oh, the joy that fills my heart when I think about embracing my son again. I imagine him standing on the clouds shouting, “mom, mom, here I am!” Thank You, Lord, for my other son, Ahmad, whom You, by divine appointment, sent in Ray’s place to care for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

unrecognizable woman walking on snowy path in town
Photo by Danya Gutan on


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