The Empty Chair


The holidays are hard. Every year at this time my heart starts to fill with dread.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a ton to be thankful for. And I absolutely enjoy getting to see my table filled with loved ones. But every year I am also acutely aware that there’s an empty chair at the table.

Olivia passed away a little over 3 years ago just about a month before Thanksgiving. My heart ached for her then and it aches for her now. I will never forget that feeling as we came up to Casper to spend the holidays with family. We smiled and we tried to make it special for Wyatt, but it hurt like hell.

We went for a walk down by the river on that first Thanksgiving without her and I snapped pictures while Wyatt rode on his daddy’s shoulders. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful moment. But it was impossible to fully enjoy it.

No matter the day or occasion, her absence is still noticed. It would always be better if she could be there too. It’s a feeling I’ve learned to live with although it still brings tears to my eyes.

Hug your babies this Thanksgiving. Be truly and completely thankful for your children. We are never promised tomorrow, no matter how little they are.

The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research. You can learn more and donate by visiting

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