Room at the Table




I’ve dined with ghosts before.

Weeks ago I had dinner with my friend, who served as best woman at our wedding many years ago.

I spend every wedding-anniversary-dinner-that-should-have-been with this friend, but this was an ordinary night.

At one point, she asked me if Jim was at the table.  (She is, after all, the one who coined the term “ghost hubby” on my objectively–if not spiritually—spouse-less wedding anniversary.)

I hemmed a little, then told her “Well, he has a lot going on.  A lot of places to be.”

And I envisioned him in great detail not to my right, but hiking among vast mountains I’d never actually seen.  Assuredly he was somewhere in the great outdoors just then, and not in the Chinese restaurant where we sat.

Yes, my mental state had reached a point where I was making apologies to my dinner companion for the absence of my late husband.

Last weekend there was an empty seat at the dinner table.  One of our sons had just graduated from the university his dad had chosen not to attend after all–thereby ending up meeting me.

A year ago, at the same son’s college commencement, I had felt Jim’s presence so keenly that I could describe precisely the space he occupied–five paces to my right, on the balcony overlooking the indoor ceremony, on one knee and with a camera lens focused on the son who wore a white remembrance ribbon pinned to his graduation gown.

“Is he letting me go?” I asked my friend when I realized that Jim did not after all seem to occupy a seat at the table that night, though there was plenty of room.

“What do you think?” She turned the answer into another question, as therapists and lawyers tend to do.

I think we both knew I really meant, “Am I letting him go?”

On one level I realize it’s silly of me to think he has other things to do now, places to explore, people to watch over, now that he doesn’t need to keep an eye on me every second lest I fall to pieces.

I no longer weep all the hours I can’t sleep, and to some degree I carry on for both of us.




About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
This entry was posted in Love and Loss and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Room at the Table

  1. Susan Battye says:

    Fantastic – on so many levels, Stephanie!

  2. candidkay says:

    I do believe our loved ones are with us in a different form, in a different version of time and space. But how wonderful–and yet, I’m sure, maddening–that you can feel it so clearly. Wishing you peace.

  3. Beautifully written
    I suppose the answer has to be that you need him a little less….you’re moving back into the world of the living, rather than that halfway space between life and death. I love the idea of Jim busy with his own things 🙂
    Oh and the observation of lawyers and therapists question techniques is exquisite!

  4. I think this entire post is beautifully expressed particularly Jim’s presence at the college commencement. What a gift for writing you have.

  5. amyboonecarroll says:

    Wow. That was beautiful.

  6. Denise Glennon says:

    You touched my heart with this.

Leave a Reply to candidkay Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s