Do we still set a plate?

“Do we still set his plate? Do we still set his chair? Do we still buy him gifts and if we don’t did we not care?” ~ Winter by Bayside

The holidays are here and as much as I thought I was prepared I’m not. Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are now counting the days until Christmas. Last year I had two trees in my livingroom. The family tree with the ornaments collected and made over the years and a silver tree with red and blue balls on it and a yellow ribbon to top it. I called that one Pokey’s tree. He spent Christmas in Baghdad waking up the barracks and blessing his brothers with a candy cane.

This year I am not sure what to do. Part of me wants to skip the shopping and decorating and all those things Christmas. Just hearing the carols playing over the speaking today broke me. But Pokey loved Christmas. He loved the lights and the cookies. He would be the first one to break out the Christmas carols and movies. Mannheim Steamroller was his favorite.

I know we will have Christmas, we have a young one who needs it, but it’s the damned empty stocking hanging with Pokey’s name on it that is killing me inside. It’s the chocolate cover pretzels I make every year that Pokey loved and the ornaments he made I will hang. He is here in the middle of it all but not here, at the same time. And I just can’t seem to balance it in my heart. And I am mad as hell about it. He should be here.. sneaking cookies and peeking under the tree.

6 Responses to Do we still set a plate?

  1. Holger Awakens December 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Awwww Knottie, I feel for you – the Holidays are often the toughest times when you’ve lost someone so dear. I’m a bit old-fashioned some think and that applies to my view of G_d and Faith and the Bible and such so I have what I suppose are some pretty archaic opinions by today’s standards. But anyway, I have a theory which I hope you don’t mind me putting out here:

    My sister died at the age of 5 years old – the sweetest, most darling little girl in the whole wide world. I have always thought fully in my heart that the Father needed a special angel in Heaven to help all the little kids that found themselves there way before their time.

    And in keeping with that thought, I just wonder if G_d didn’t need an extra special young man in Heaven, a young man that would be an angel to help those soldiers and marines whose days were cut short by war. The Father needed a young man whose smile could light the way for those soldiers and marines who had given their all…an angel who each and every one of those entering heaven in fatigues would gravitate towards and sit with and laugh and love.

    Knottie, G_d’s strength be with you this Holiday season. You’re the best.

  2. David M December 4, 2008 at 1:19 pm #

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/04/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. James Hooker - Nipple Whisperer December 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Have a Merry Christmas Knottie. I know you will.

  4. Rosso December 6, 2008 at 12:06 am #

    are you a racist? Its a shame when we fellow humans cannot love and respect others.

  5. A Soldier's Mother December 6, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    There is a concept in Judaism that each person is given a task in life. God gives them the time to complete this task – not all do. The ones who die young, the ones that God calls to Him early, are the ones blessed enough to not only have completed their task in life, but to have completed it in an extraordinary period of time, the truly blessed.

    That doesn’t help those of us left behind and doesn’t mean we can’t be angry, but after all the levels and stages of bereavement – the grief, the anger, the wishing it could have been different, I have heard and seen that for many, comes the level of acceptance. It doesn’t mean the anger, grief and wishing goes away – sadly, I don’t think it ever does. But what you learn – what you are learning and what I believe you have learned, is that you can move on. Not move away…but move on.

    You’ve written about the hardest times – when you realize Pokey will always be 19; the holidays, etc.

    We all know, you know, you’ll have Christmas…and God willing many, many more to come – and as much as Pokey won’t be there…he will. I wish I had words to say to you. I write about my son and hope I’m not causing you pain. It’s harder to write about my Elie now that I’ve read your blog. It is my greatest fear and I can’t imagine my heart continuing to beat, let alone do the things you continue to do.

    May God bless you with your memories and may you and your family have a very merry and blessed Christmas.

    Paula

  6. phil December 6, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    Hey Knottie, im a reader over at pat dollards site, and just thought i would put my 2 cents in, if you want it. I think the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, is a very important time to reflect on the past, those you love, those you lost, and those who will always be with you. Setting a plate for your son over the holidays is a beautiful, simple, gesture to remember someone you care so deeply for. I say definately set a plate, and May God Almighty comfort you in these holiday seasons!

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