Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

There is a scene in Les Miserables where Marius, recovering from his own wounds, sings a song about his friends who died on the barricades. In part, it goes “That I live and you are gone, there’s a grief that can’t be spoken, there’s a pain goes on and on”.

My little dog Jack used to perch on the arm of the couch while I watched television in the evenings.  I would lie with my head at one end, my feet at the other, and he would be on the armrest by my feet. This could be very annoying because something about the flickering screen would trigger a strange behavior of snapping at the air.  A mild seizure disorder, perhaps?  But then, when he got old, and could no longer jump up on the couch, he would lie down on the carpet right next to it, with his head always resting on my shoes left on the floor.

Tonight, after a long day, I watched a movie.  When I got up at the end, and my feet came down seeking my shoes, I was careful, as I always tried to be so I wouldn’t accidentally kick him in the head as I got up. But he is no longer there.

Earlier this week, I lost a friend—Catherine Doyle, who died in Albuquerque from complications after abdominal surgery. Catherine had a little dog too, named Boo Coo, because he was a french poodle and because he was born on Halloween.  I told little Jack to go find Catherine and keep her company.  Truth be told, I never liked this time of year.  Empty chairs at empty tables.

In memory of Catherine Ann Doyle, December 1, 1943 to December 18, 2012, and Vale Vue’s Pocket Change, aka “Jack”, October 27, 1998 to December 21, 2012.


  1. I just want to give you & Jack a hug.
    So sorry about the loss of your friend. Try to enjoy the people who are still at the table before their – or our- chairs are empty. Love to you…

  2. “I think their spirit goes up there, to Sirius, the Dog Star.  I can’t imagine anything else that would keep it burning so bright and constant.”
    Captain Ezra Harper in, DogStar

    Look up, Miranda!

  3. Your little Jack can go find my Dad, Jack, while he is up in Heaven. Gosh my Dad loved dogs. So sorry for his passing. May your heart heal quickly with the good, healthy memories.

  4. No question it’s been a tough road around this planet the last little while. We are so sorry for the loss of your little man Miranda. Clearly he has way too much great company on the other side.

  5. I am so sorry to hear of little Jack’s passing. He joins so many before him. He had a GREAT LIFE and will have an even greater forever life going forward. Everyone will miss him. My heart goes out to you.

  6. This time of year really is very hard on all of us — there’s so much to celebrate but at the same time it is a time of loss…. we lose many of our friends and family during this season. Cherish every moment and every contact….

  7. When I read your post today, ‘When Only A Dog Will Do’, I saw your mention of this post. The title immediately struck me as I too recently thought of this song. I lost my 94 1/2 year old mother 2/21. She was of great mind, but had lived her last 3 years in an assisted living community very close to my home due to physical disabilities. They day after her death, I could think of nothing to do but straighten up her room. When I went to leave, the director was wiping off tables after lunch, just sobbing as she cleaned the top of the table where my mother sat. “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” – I am sure this dear woman experiences this more than any of us would like to. So sorry to hear of the passing of your dear dog. Their loss leaves such a void.

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