His Chair is still empty; yet we choose to be thankful


Thursday will mark the 7th year David will not be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner.  Once again I will miss him.

  • I miss his nonstop chatter about girls, the New York Yankees, and the Green Bay Packers.
  • I miss being needed.  I miss cutting up his food, telling him his turkey was at 12 o’clock on the plate, and to keep away from Mom’s rutabagas at 4 o’clock.
  • I miss the touch of his hand on my elbow as I guided him to the table.
  • I miss hearing him say, “Thanks Dad, I love you.”
  • I miss his childlike faith that now I realize was deeper than mine.  With all of his losses he loved God and gave him thanks for every small thing.  I want more of that in my own faith.
  • I miss sitting in his room in his black recliner with his cheese head hanging on the wall being the color commentator as we watched Green Bay defeat the Detroit Lions.
  • I miss helping put up his Christmas tree with the blue lights and the flashing colored star.  We made David wait to listen to Christmas music until Thanksgiving Day.

Once again his chair will be empty, and once again I will be given the opportunity to choose to be thankful or not.

I choose to be thankful! 

What am I thankful for?

  1. I had the privilege to be David’s father.  I saw him come into this world and I held him as he left this world.  No one else can claim this.
  2. David’s story isn’t finished.  The ripples of his life continue to touch and influence people.  I know of marriages that are healed and families that are whole because of David Pfohl.
  3. I am a different person because of the privilege I had of caring for David as Batten disease robbed him of life.  I believe I am more compassionate.  My priorities and the things I value in life have been sharpened.  My faith has grown deeper.
  4. Out of the brokenness of David’s disease and death David’s Refuge was given birth.  Next year we will serve 250 families across the state of New York.  250 families will be reminded they are not alone, what they do matters, and that they are loved by God!
  5. I am thankful for the hope of one day seeing David again.  My faith in a good and all powerful God reminds me of this truth.

I’m not sure what you are facing this Thanksgiving holiday, but you too have a choice to make.  Will you be thankful or not?  I’m not saying you have to say thanks for Batten disease or your divorce or your child’s diagnosis.  But what about the one or two people who have stuck with you?  What about the milestone your child made that no one else would have realized but you?  What about that one teacher or aid who tells their child they are beautiful and loved?  What about the joy of holding your child knowing out of all the people in the world you are their parent?  I hope sometime today you can find a few moments of respite to reflect on the one or two things you are thankful for.  I would love it if you would share that with all of us.

May God bless you and remind you today how much He loves us all!  Happy Thanksgiving.