The Empty Chair

Empty Chair


May 24, 2014….Graduation Day. A day Skylar had dreamed of for years, the day every high schooler longs for……freedom, that first jaunt into adulthood. Today I received the call I’d been dreading, graduation specifics. I can not even begin to tell you how much my heart crumbled after I hung up the phone. One more painful reminder of things we are missing on this earth without her. Skylar’s chair will be covered on that Saturday morning and a single rose will replace where she should be sitting. They will call Skylar’s name as they would if she were accepting the diploma herself, but instead we will accept it in her honor. That’s as good as it gets.

I certainly find myself asking God, especially lately with Sky’s senior prom and graduation fast approaching, how and why? How in His name am I suppose to survive the rest of my time on this earth without her?  Why, when she had so much more to do, to accomplish, to offer? Questions with no answers. I live in Sky-time now (such an accurate phrase coined by one of my closest friends). Everything that happens, has happened or will happen since Sky’s death is measured in Sky-time. I think that’s easy to understand why….life as we knew it changed forever at 12:41 am November 4, 2012. I’m no longer who I was nor will I ever be again. That goes without saying I assume.  But for many, especially those that have never experienced a loss such as this, I know it’s also easily forgotten.

I work very, very hard on Skylar’s Scholarship Fund. I do this because we have 2 things left of Skylar, our memories and her legacy. It’s that simple. I know as well as the next person, that memories fade. I’ll be damned if her legacy ever does. It doesn’t take much to realize what an amazing person Skylar was, even in her short 16 1/2 years on this earth, and I know that she changed lives while she was here and she’s changing lives from her forever home as well.  And our goal is that she changes lives with her scholarship fund as well. The Skylar Kooken Memorial Scholarship Funds’ mission is to help Skylar’s legacy live on through her peers as they continue their education and accomplish what Skylar no longer can. I ask for prayers and guidance as we grow this in her honor.

I also ask for prayers for all of Sky’s family on graduation day. I haven’t quite let myself go there mentally but I can only imagine what it will do to us all when we look at that empty chair….dear God the pain will be agonizing, that I am sure of.

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.


Ways To Give:


In 2013 we established The Skylar Kooken Memorial Fund in which we award graduating seniors from Bellbrook High School $1,000 scholarships in Skylar’s memory. If you would like to contribute please see the link below for her PayPal account. If you would like to mail a check you can send to:

Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School – c/o Kevin Liming

3757 Upper Bellbrook Rd. Bellbrook, OH 45305

Checks should be made payable to: BSEF .

Skylar Kooken Fund must be written in the memo line.

EIN: 31-1751001 (for tax purposes)

To donate to The Skylar Kooken Memorial Scholarship Fund please visit:





5 thoughts on “The Empty Chair

  1. I can relate. I am so sorry about your daughter.
    I was the lucky mom, I got to say goodbye to my son who died in my arms right before graduation but he died of cancer on May 29, 2012. I too watched as I did not have the strength to attend his graduation in person I watched the video and saw the “empty chair” with his cap and robe on it. While you never get over this kind of loss, you are correct God has a new path for you and I. I was wanted you to know there are other mothers out there that are suffering so you are not alone. I came across your website and read your beautiful heartfelt loss about the “empty chair”. God bless you.
    S. Grissom, Duncanville, TX.

  2. I wish I could reach through the computer and hug you tight! I can not even fathom how you are feeling! The kids and I are praying for you and your family as always. That is very thoughtful that they are still keeping a chair for Sky and calling her name. I will be praying harder than ever on that day for strength that peace in your heart! XO

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