It has been an eventful holiday season, one with a variety of experiences and emotions. Over Thanksgiving, my parents and brother spent several days with us. The men worked on projects including siding and electrical around our house and the camp. The women and children baked Christmas cookies, some to eat and some to give away. We feasted, played games, opened some birthday presents, hiked around looking for wild horses, gazed at a beautiful water fall, and had some good discussions. The time was extra special because my brother had just come out of prison after three and a half years. He talked of taking pleasure in the simple things of life: working hard, spending time with family, and enjoying nature. He seemed really well, and we all had hopes for a fresh start. He returned home, found a job, was working hard and long hours, and spending time with his children.
Early December 11, my parents called to tell us that the coroner had appeared at their door, that my brother had been found dead, most likely of a drug overdose. He was thirty-four years old. The shock was profound: life forever changed, hopes dashed, family altered. Over the next few days, plans were made; and many people reached out. There was the hustle and bustle of visitation, the funeral, and the burial. Various emotions came and went: sadness for what could have been, grief for what has been lost, anger for wrong choices, questioning addiction and how God looks at all of this, comfort in God’s mercy and the peace He brings, joy in the love shown by family, friends, and acquaintances. In some ways, it all still seems a bit surreal, like a bad dream from which one hopes to awaken.
But life goes on: December 18, our oldest turned sixteen. For several years, he has been anticipating learning to drive. A few days later, he passed his permit test. A new adventure begins!
Christmas this year was spent with my husband’s family in Ontario. We enjoyed reconnecting with his parents, siblings, and their families. With the temperatures in the single digits and several snow falls, we surely experienced winter. We quickly realized our shoes were of no use and ended up wearing boots the rest of the time there. The children and their cousins enjoyed indoor hockey and volleyball, sledding, and riding around on GT snow sleds connected to an ATV. Some of them shoveled snow and helped with farm chores as well. The snow made the towns and countryside look beautiful, but my husband was glad to leave all of the driving in it behind!
Today, as we are on the verge of a new year, I am thankful for God’s grace and provision through the past months. There have been joyous times, and there have been days of sorrow as well. Through it all, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.