At thousands of tables today there are those absent. If it's military, you honor their absence, if deceased you do the same. Then there are those of us with children in prison. What do you do with that?
There are some kids who were trouble their whole life and you just almost figured that's where they'd wind up. Then there are those like my Josh. A little troubled, but enough good that you hope they make it without having to go through that.
But he didn't make it. He chose to do something so horrible that society says, and rightfully so, that he must be kept away from the general public.
On holidays I remember past ones spent with him. He would show up all in black and edgy, tall and handsome, swagger in with that grin and everyone would welcome him and love on him. And most of the hearts doing the welcoming were spending significant time in prayer for his life, his soul. I will try to find and post a song that sounds as though it was written by someone who knew him.
What to do with these lost people. You see the potential, you see sparks of hope, and yet, they seem determined to self-destruct. And the holidays come and the holidays go, leaving a part of you empty and sad. That spirit, that presence, not here and not only not here, but in the most awful place you can imagine, especially for your beloved child.
I miss him more on this day than Christmas. Thanksgiving is always so easy and everyone is so light-hearted, it suited him really. My heart is so heavy for him these days. I get letters and rejoice at the growth they seem to hold, I get letters that make me so angry I feel it is hopeless.
So I am thinking of all the moms in particular who look around their tables today and though they are with their families, cooking and preparing and celebrating the day, there is a secret place inside that is weeping over the empty chair in their heart.