“Empty Chairs” … What are Yours?

Last week I shared about Good Grief and gave some of my resilience building coping skills that I use.  There are times in our life that are easy and times that are rough.

Creating the practice of joy and happiness is a discipline.

It has become a daily practice for me…sometimes so super easy and other times not so.

Here’s an example of compartmentalizing stressors in your life – whether they’re worry, doubt, grief, sorrow, or something else – and how it can help you delve into them, honor them, and most importantly, let them go.

Here I want to share with you intimately, from my journal:

I’m sitting at my small antique tea table where I can’t see my dining room table from here because I can’t bear to look at it in this moment.

It should be full all the time.

Even though I was so happy last night with three of my daughters and my father around it as we enjoyed dinner, laughing and talking… I missed the ones I love so dearly who should be in… the empty chairs.

I stared at the table after everyone had gone to bed, holding my tea, and tried so hard to imagine everyone together at my table again… Laughing, telling jokes and stories.

Tears running down my cheeks, nose running, can’t see, can’t smell, can hardly breathe, not choosing any longer to be happy in this moment, but choosing to be sad.

More like letting the sadness envelope me. Feeling very sorrowful and very sorry for myself…Not disciplined, Not guarded, Not caring what others think… Hurting very deeply

When will the pain stop?

Truthfully, I am glad to feel the pain still. No, the hurt, while less frequent, less painful, is no less real.

My oldest daughter Brittany, well, she’s staying in Maui this Christmas. We will Skype and feel close but miss her all the same.

My mother, well, she’s in heaven and I will make her famous turkey and baklava recipes. She had a way of making everyone feel loved and warm during the holidays and no one would be alone. I always joke that I grew up in the United Nations thanks to her!

My son Garrett, yes he’s in heaven too, and I can barely write this now… There’s no pretending how deeply sorrowful I feel… He would love his little sister Ava. He would love his big sisters. He would be ten now and I can imagine all kinds of things that he would be doing and oh how my mom would love her grandchildren!

The thoughts are so deeply painful. I can get lost in my imagining for a bit, then the reality hits again and I can’t breathe.

Once I’ve cried all the tears I have, for now, and blow my nose again…  I regain strength and through blurry vision, focus on all I am grateful for.

Flash thought however interrupts my way to composure. The kids will be at their father’s this Christmas… Yes the shared holidays of divorce… I never planned for these either, ever in my life. I mourn those dreams too.

I regain my composure, say a prayer, remember to feel JOY which too, is a practice and a discipline…  and close off my mourning for a while longer.

Yes the holidays, full of good stresses and the not so good, full of wonderful memories and the not so wonderful, and the unexpected new joys and sorrows.

I have found peace with my grief/sorrow and although, give it full reign at times– It reminds me of the deep, deep and undying love that I have.  I am very grateful for that.

For me this is my Good Grief.

I’m sorry if I made you cry too, but I know that I am not alone and that you too may be missing someone or the dreams we have for our life and it’s okay. I want to encourage you.  Maybe like me you are missing a child, a parent, and a dream.

Khalil Gibran said, “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” 

I choose to express JOY fully, bringing it into my heart, honoring love, God, family and my personal legacy.

I send you a hug now, and know it is from my heart to your heart.

Please bring your JOY to the season.

With love,

Dr. Anna Cabeca, DO, FACOG, ABAARM

PS. I would love for you to share with me how you honor a loved one’s memory during the holidays.

On Joy and Sorrow
The Prophet
by Khalil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.



Back to blog
1 of 3
Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna Cabeca

Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine expert and founder of The Girlfriend Doctor. During Dr. Anna’s health journey, she turned to research to create products to help thousands of women through menopause, hormones, and sexual health. She is the author of best-selling The Hormone Fix, and Keto-Green 16 and MenuPause.

Learn more about my scientific advisory board.