It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? We gather together with our loved ones – some of whom we see each day and others with whom we haven’t seen since the last holiday. Holidays are the ways by which we measure our lives, and where we gather with the ones we love and enjoy each other’s happiness. However, after losing those we love, how can we be expected to ever actually enjoy the holiday season?

Custom traditions that we’ve been upholding for as long as I can remember will never be repeated in the exact same way again.

We will never experience overflowing laughter and uncontrollable wheezing after your non-chalant jokes.

We will exchange gifts, but now know that the best gifts can’t be wrapped up and put under a tree.

Our familiar table looks exactly the same, yet the lack of your presence makes it unrecognizable.

The holidays will never be the holidays that we remember.

The pain is subtle, yet indescribable, and all we have for consolation is the past memories we have made and the joy you have given us through the years. Although we know it will never be the same, we are so thankful for the time we had with you. We would never trade all of the happiness you gave us for this sadness, and are so lucky to say that you have left an impact on us.

As we gather with friends, families, and our loved ones and remember what we are thankful for, we immediately think of you. You were a constant reminder of happiness, kindness, charity, optimism, and selflessness. Although we stare at the empty chair and wish more than anything that you were with us, we are so thankful for the light that you have shed in our lives and the imprint you have left on our hearts. The chair may be empty, but we know you are still sitting right there next to us.

We miss you.