November is almost completed, and I can’t let the calendar turn without marking the end of this month and remembering what it has meant for our family. Three weeks ago, Eric’s dad, my father-in-law, passed from this life to eternity.
His death was not a surprise: a year and a half ago, he was diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma of the lung, and it had metastasized to his bones. In some ways, he beat the cancer by outliving the projected course of the disease by nine months. Even in the last couple of months, he insisted on doing yard work and living as normally as possible. The last six weeks or so he had been confined to the bed, and I know that must have made him crazy!
We were able to be with him the afternoon he passed away, and I am thankful for that. It was not easy to watch him go, but I know Eric is glad for it as well. He didn’t always get along with his dad, mostly because they were so very much alike, but he loved him and wanted to be there for him.
Our kids are adjusting to this life without Pawpaw, but the holiday season will probably be very difficult. Eric and I have some very grown-up concerns about the remainder of his family, and it is sure to dampen the joy of the season somewhat. Meanwhile, I am thankful that we can maintain some normalcy for our kids, and I hope we can keep them somewhat insulated from the chaotic things that exist in the adult realm.
Thanksgiving was very simple this year- just my parents and Eric’s mom and our ten-year-old nephew. I always host the celebration for my family, and while we usually potluck the whole ordeal, this year I took on all the cooking for myself. A friend asked me the week before, “Doesn’t that just stress you out?!” And my answer is a resounding “No!” I love nothing more than that day before Thanksgiving, chopping and preparing, simmering and baking.
The kids might have watched a few too many cartoons that day, but they took frequent breaks to come and dip their fingers in whatever I was working on throughout the day. Holidays with kids are priceless! Thursday morning, Seth even woke up early because he was so excited about the turkey. Now, I don’t recall ever being so excited by dead poultry when I was six years old, but that’s my kid for you! So, we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while I wrapped up the preparations, Mr. Turkey came out of the oven just as our few guests arrived, and we shared a quiet meal together.
The next day, we made our annual trek to the Christmas tree farm and brought out the holiday decorations. I always wait until after Thanksgiving, though the pressure is great to bring it all out right after Halloween! I like to give each of the holidays their own place, so we wait. Now our halls are decked, I’m working out the kinks in our wish list for Santa, and Christmas carols are finally welcome in our home! December, we are ready. I hope you’re a lot better than November this year!
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that as the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and whom my own eyes will behold, and not another. (Job 19:25-27)