Novemberness

I love Novembers. And it’s right around the corner. The chill is paving the grond with the golds and reds that only a short while ago clung so stubbornly to their branches. The sky seems bluer. The air is brisker. The smell of pumpkin pie, and the warmth of an oven. I love fall, don’t you?

Novembers are busy. Birthdays, too many of them, such glorious occasions, late night celebrations the evening before another test or paper or a long gruelling day of classes. Perhaps all the more glorious because of the impeeding doom of a teacher’s red pen. And there’s Thanksgiving, tailing the end of a second volley of midterms and papers, a short, sweet four days of forgetful bliss, soaked in the homesome smells and warmth of the season, studiously ignoring the distant threats of school while catching up with relatives, relatives so dearly loved and so rarely seen. And of course, more pumpking pie! and turkey, stuffing, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes. Oh, even the potatoes seem so much more perfect in that happy season. And the table around which loved ones gather. The adults arguing good-naturedly over theology or politics, the children playing tag among the chairs. But the days are as short as they are beautiful, and too soon we return to the cold college dorms and apartments to buckle down for the final volley of exams, sleepless nights, and a diet of hot coffee with cold florescent lights, before the blessed comfort of Christmas break arrives.

Fall is the smell of fresh-baked pumpking pie between frantic attemtps at school work. Perhaps I’ll toss in another shot at NaNoWriMo, that 50,000-word madness, just to stirr things up a bit.

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My Grandma

Thank you for the prayers I know were offered. My Grandma passed away early Monday afternoon (their time). She is now with the Lord, whole, painless, and joyful, at peace.

I have never really lost anyone close to me before, and it was something different from what I expected. I was with a friend in New York. It was early morning, and we had been ignoring her alarm clock for a while. The sunlight streamed in the nice little apartment we were staying in. My friend finally reaches for her phone (I had none, so I gave my mother her number), and reading a message, asks, “[LS], you’ve got your glasses?”

I obligingly reach for my glasses, and she says softly, “you better read this.” It’s amazing how one realizes so easily the truth. I recall once reading of an officer in the army, who had the unpleasant duty of breaking the news to a new widow. He put on his uniform, quietly rehearsing the words he knew he would not need to say. The young wife would know simply by seeing the uniformed officer on her doorstep. It was easier that way, that he would not need to speak, to explain, but simply skip to offering what comfort he could.

So I knew even as I took the phone from her. I read the short message my mother wrote, and lay back down to stare at the ceiling. I’m not sure how I felt. I’m not sure what I was supposed to feel. And so for quite a while I simply lay there wondering what the proper emotion ought to be, so I could summon it up, as long as it was not a shower of tears which would make it awkward for both me and my friend. I never know how to deal with tears.

It hit me then that I would be home in less than a month. Why did God not wait till I was home for the summer? Why did it have to happen now, when I was half a world away? I had always prayed, ever since coming to college, that if anything had to happen, let it happen when I was home for the summer. Let it happen when I could at least say my last goodbyes. It was only a month’s difference, couldn’t God have waited?

I think that was the moment I shed a tear or two. I was bitter, and while I accepted the fact that my grandmother passed away, I didn’t understand why it had to be now, so close to when I would have been home.

But the thought eventually passed, and I comforted myself that it happened now, not later, not when my sister would also be at college here on the wrong side of the world. I thanked God that at the last days of my grandmother’s life, she had my sister and my brother both, even if I had to be away. I thanked God that He blessed my grandmother so dearly, that she had almost all the family – both her son and daughter, and their spouses, their children, around her. I thanked God, I blessed His Name that He gave her such a beautiful life, one without want, a good home, good food, good family. Even though she was always very weak, very frail, I thanked God that she was never really very ill. She was healthy, as much as a tiny, frail, 80-year-old can be. Her bones bothered her, and she lay in bed a lot of the day. But I thanked God for the peace He gave her, that she had little to worry about, that she had no greater illnesses or diseases to torment her.

I also thanked God that her time in the hospital was so short. I knew it made her miserable, and she had earlier already been frustrated at how much a burden she was to our family (but oh, how dearly we loved this burden God blessed us with). Even if she had recovered, she would only have felt greater frustration at “all the extra trouble” it would have caused us as we sought a stay-at-home helper. Trouble we would so gladly have gone through! But God was kind in that, so long ago He decided her time, and He let it pass swiftly, instead of giving her a long and painful battle before that alloted day.

God gave my grandmother a beautiful life. He blessed her and our family so greatly. He loved us so. I have not yet come to terms with my grandmother being gone, that I would not see her again for such a very, very long time. I found little peace in the knowledge that she was now with the Lord. I am selfish, and though she is now in a better place, it still hurts that she is gone. But I am at peace, because God loved her, and God loved us. God has blessed us all so greatly. And I find comfort in that.