It’s that time of year again. The holiday season, a time of rejoicing, celebration. First there’s Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, Hanukah, and New Years.

But what if I’m not thankful and don’t want to celebrate? What if I am sadder than I have ever been? What if I am pissed as hell? And what if I feel guilty… guilty for living when someone I loved died…guilty for failing them? What if I feel guilty because I’m relieved… that it’s finally over?  

Is there still a place at the table for me? 

What if I don’t want to bow my head and give thanks this year? What if I don’t want to be with lots of people? What if I just want to sit and say nothing? What if the only present I want is the one I can’t have, my loved one back with me? 

Will there still be a place at the table for me? 

What if I don’t feel like eating? What if the thought of food makes me gag? What if the sight of pumpkin pie or eggnog makes me cry? What if I don’t care who gets the bigger half of the drumstick? What if I don’t want Grandma’s fruitcake?  

Will there still be a place at the table for me? 

What if I don’t have my hair right or just come in jeans and my loved one’s favorite shirt? What if I don’t care about dressing up this year or what everyone else has on? 

Will there still be a place at the table for me? 

What if I cry uncontrollably or laugh when I shouldn’t? What if I slobber all over your shirt? What if I don’t want a hug? What if I avoid the mistletoe and can’t sing Auld Lang Seine this year? What if I am not the way I used to be?   

Will there still be a place at the table for me? 

I’m not too sure about myself anymore. But please save a place for me at the table this year. Perhaps I’ll be more like me next year. 


Deb Kosmer ©2006

Deb Kosmer

Deb has worked at Affinity Visiting Nurses Hospice for ten years, the first two as a hospice social worker and the last eight as Bereavement Support Coordinator supporting families before and after the death of their loved ones. She provides supportive counseling, developed and facilitates a variety of grief support groups, including a well-attended group for men only as well as other educational events. Deb received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UW-Oshkosh and her Master’s degree in Social Work from UW Milwaukee. She received her certification in Thanatology through ADEC. Her writing has appeared in New Leaf Magazine, We Need Not Walk Alone, Living with Loss, Grief Digest, numerous hospice publications and EAP publications. Some of her poetry on death and dying will be included in a college textbook for social workers in end of life soon. New Leaf has also used some of her poetry for a line of sympathy and anniversary of death cards. On a personal level, Deb's 14-year-old son died after being struck by a car. Her 31-year-old sister had died in a car accident eight months earlier, and her 56-year-old father died from a heart attack exactly three years before. These three unexpected deaths within three years started Deb on a journey she never wanted to be on and she learned first-hand the importance of having the help and support of others. In the years since, she has experienced other losses, the most recent being the unexpected death of her 44-year-old step-daughter who died from complications three months after routine surgery. Deb's passions are writing, reading, education, nature, and family. She is currently working on a book of her grief poetry. She recently moved with her husband to Waypost Camp, Hatley WI. Her husband accepted a job there as Property Manager and his position allows them to live on-site with acres of woods and a lake. She anticipates the quiet beauty to be a strong catalyst for writing.

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