Christmas is an especially difficult holiday when there is an empty chair at the table following the death of a loved one.  The first Christmas after my lovely mother died we felt a deep sadness seeing that empty chair.

Instead of jumping right into the festivities and ignoring that a special person was not present, I asked everyone around the table to think of a fun memory or special attribute about Mom/Grandma. I invited them to share, if they wanted to. As family members shared their stories, there was much laughter and love and joy around the table.  It felt for a few minutes that Mom was in our midst.

As part of that year’s celebration, I also gave each family member—including the young grandchildren—a delicate cross with Mom’s name, birthdate, and death-date engraved on it. I encouraged all the family to hang the cross on the tree each Christmas as a way to remember Grandma.

Now, ten years later, I still see the cross on my tree and smile and thank God for the lovely woman who graced our lives.


Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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