The Empty Chair at Christmas

Last night my husband very casually informed me that Leon from Gogglebox had passed away. He certainly wasn’t expecting my reaction; which was to sob my heart out. I feel sadness whenever I hear of anyone’s passing – obviously – but Leon really did upset me. The image I couldn’t get out of my head was of June sitting next to an empty chair; that famous chair we have all watched for so many years.

My husband told me this news as I was sat next to him watching TV. This doesn’t happen very often but it’s Christmas so we have been making an effort to watch things together. So here I was, the wife sat next to the husband watching the box – just like June and Leon. I sobbed further at the prospect that one day one half of our sofa will be empty too. Pretty morbid for the festive season – I apologise.

I read a quote on Twitter the other day about Christmas being about hope for the future for children, but for adults it’s always about the empty chair at the table. It was such a sad quote.

I have been so lucky in my life. I have a small, close family. I am an only child and because of this Christmas day is always spent with my Mum and Dad and that’s about it. Sometimes a boyfriend would join us and perhaps a gran if she didn’t get a better offer.

In later years I made my folks grandparents and married so now Christmas is the five of us. Our small, perfect family. I am so incredibly lucky to say I have never experienced the empty chair at Christmas.

Leon’s passing has just imprinted a picture onto my heart of an empty chair in that living room and I feel so very sad for lovely June.

If you are trying to cope with your empty chair this Christmas I am so very sorry too.

We never know when our Christmases are going to change forever. I know I am going to savour every person sitting around the table tomorrow and hug them all a little tighter.

God Bless Leon. Rest in Peace.

2 Replies to “The Empty Chair at Christmas”

  1. This post really touched me. I knew Leon personally – he was a very good bridge player and we played at Liverpool Bridge Club. In fact, this is how he turned up on Gogglebox. When the programme was in the planning stage, the researchers came to the club looking for potential Gogglebox-ers. And they found Leon. The rest is history. I used to tease him that he & June were trending on Twitter (again!) and then one of his grandchildren set up @Leon&June which June took to like a duck to water. Whenever he was his cheeky self, I used to threaten he’d be all over Twitter by 5pm. Leon adored…absolutely adored June. We’d all heard about her (& the children and grandchildren) at the bridge club way before the nation took her/them to its’ hearts. Leon’s bridge partner was Peter. He was ‘bridge June’. Leon chunnered away at Peter exactly the way he did with June. Where this is leading is your reference to the Empty Chair. There’ll be one opposite Peter at our bridge club for sure.

    Leon was incredibly kind. He used to give a lady called Pam a lift to the bridge club. She was a character too. A demon bridge player..always immaculate…funny…a long, loved life packed with events. Pam passed away earlier this year. Just before I heard the news of Leon (hours before) I thought of Pam & those families who’d have an empty chair this Christmas. I couldn’t have imagined it would be Leon’s.

    Thanks for your post x I mourn with you xx

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