Sunday, November 20, 2022

Fall Lament

 "The leaves are prettier this year than usual." 

It was a comment I heard over and over. 

"Did I just forget how pretty the leaves are in the fall?" my dentist asked.

"Someone said the leaf color is the best in ten years," said a friend.

Leaf color and brilliance is hard to measure, but week after week, the colors were astounding. I gushed and gaped - as I rushed to the next thing on my agenda. I kept saying that I needed to go for more walks to soak in the beauty. In February I would regret that I was too busy to truly enjoy the leaves.

Now it is nearly the end of November and I look back, wondering why I was so busy this fall. Flipping through my photos, gives me a glimpse.

A few days in Chincoteague, Virginia with two of my brothers and family.

Making applesauce.

Picking squash.

Of course, raking leaves.

Making apple cider with my family.

And potato chips.

Introducing some new Ukrainian friends to canoeing.

Lots of living - with meals, school, shopping, and questions big and small. There were kids' clubs, gatherings with church friends, weddings, crochet classes with Grandma, and playing games with Grandmother.

But maybe when I think back to the fall of 2022, it won't be any of these things that will stand out in my memory. 

Throughout the fall, my dear friend's mom was slipping away. I took night duty a couple nights to give her family a break. Though dementia is different than brain cancer, there were enough similiarities to give me flashbacks. So many people had helped with Ed, and it was an honor to sit by her bed and remember her gift of hospitatlity and all the hours I spent in that same living room.

I love life. I'm grateful that God has given me a rich life with oppurtunities, friendships, harvests, and growing children. 

But this fall, in the middle of a busy schedule with weddings and celebrations and exuberate leaves - I wanted to sit by a death bed. Remembering. Grieving. 

Ecclesiastes says "it is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting" and "sorrow is better than laughter." (Ecc. 7:2-3) I'm not sure what those verses mean. Of course I wish there were never funerals to attend, but while weddings remind me of the dreams and future that I lost, funerals remind me of what I have - memories, a godly heritage, and the hope of the resurrection. 

The leaves have all fallen, and there is a new grave in a cemetery. It is a season to settle into winter, to become comfortable with lament, before turning to thankgiving and preparing for the Lord's return. 

"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;" Psalms 34:18

The old cemetery I pass on my walk.


  1. What a beautiful post
    I will need to sit with those verses for a while
    My husband is terminally I’ll
    Each day is both precious and painful

    1. I am so sorry. May you feel God's presence each moment.
      Love, Gina

  2. I reveled in the gorgeous color of this 2022 autumn. It felt a special blessing from God, after the drab, dismal shades of last November.
    We buried my mom the day before Thanksgiving 2021. (One more Covid statistic) How apt your words...lament, yet thanksgiving because of the hope of the resurrection! God bless you and your friends in this time of remembering.

    1. I'm so sorry about your mom. I'm sure you will miss her badly over the holidays. May God hold you close. Gina

  3. I love your post. I lost my husband at the age of 38. I never remarried. I just had my 80th birthday, and I still miss him so much. He had lung cancer. Thank God for your children and extended family. My one daughter, who was four at the time, has been a joy in my life. She gave me two granddaughers. I would love for you to check the spelling of CEMETERY. I do think you have spelled it incorrectly. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow and may God bless you and your family.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. God's faithfulness to widows like you give me hope for my own future.
      And thanks for catching my spelling mistake!
      Blessings, Gina

  4. A precious family at church lost their very tiny, baby boy this week. He was born at 23 weeks gestation and will be buried this weekend. They were able to see and hold him for just over a week. For this, they are thankful. They will hold him forever in Heaven. For this, they are eternally grateful.

    When I start to feel sorry for myself, as I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes do, I think about those who are missing loved ones. Although I have family and friends in Heaven, most lived a long life before their passing. I can’t imagine the sorrow that some are experiencing. May God continue to give each of you peace, comfort, strength, and guidance.

  5. What a beautiful post. Some things came to mind when I read it…first, the fragility and poignancy of life is exactly why we Jews break a glass at a wedding…even in great joy, there is brokenness. Second, our tradition has it that if a funeral procession and a wedding procession meet in a narrow street, and one must give way, the wedding has priority. Life….always we turn toward life. Finally, we say that a death side vigil is the highest form of service because it can never be repaid, only passed forward in care and love. May our memories ever be a source of blessing and strength. Warm regards to you and your family.

  6. Thank you for the beautiful post sweet lady. I appreciate your book recommendations too. I pray for you and your family, especially during this Christmas season. I'm not sure how to get through it myself.
    I've added another book to my grief collection and found it helpful: Comfort for the Grieving Spouse's Heart by Gary Roe.
    In spite of a extremely hot and dry summer we have been blessed with beautiful falls colors that seem to hang on. My family has also been blessed by many friends and church family that help us navigate this sad time in our lives. I pray that you and your family are surrounded and lifted up by loved ones as well.


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