Good Morning December


This December has been a weird one. Since we lost Johnny in October, I feel as if the months are drifting by, unnoticed. Or maybe this is just me having to grow-up much faster than I anticipated.

December makes me feel like a kid again, especially now that I’m out of school and back in Indianapolis. The city transforms with lights and trees and decorations. The sky dusts the naked trees with snow. I sit in my living room and gaze through foggy windows watching a mesmerizing snowfall. Why is it that year after year the first snow never fails to leave me speechless? But something is missing. This year will be different because we’ve lost someone.

I think of Johnny’s sisters coming home for Christmas and how I will want to cry with them. I cry with his best friend as we write cards of condolences to comfort friends in this holiday season. It has been two months since Johnny passed away and the absence of our dear friend is still surreal.  I begin to wonder if the human mind can ever fully comprehend death.

When I wake up to a new day, with fresh thoughts of grief and sorrow I simply rise and say “Good morning December. Let’s get through this together.” For December is not just a month in the year. If December were a character in a story he’d be tall and burly with a fur hat and wide leather boots, and deep eyes that tell stories of Christmases gone by.

I know I promised to write about something new, to leave the subject of death alone and blog about a more vibrant topic. But, try telling that to the bare trees and the empty cornfields and to the frozen earth where the grass is turning brown. Death is ever present on this side of heaven.

I feel as if December is mourning John’s death too. The stale air, the dead trees, the blood stained sky above a cold morning sunrise. Together we grieve.

And yet . . . together we look to the Lord to bring us through these dark valleys and grant us rest in green pastures.


Death, a path we all must take


It hit me yesterday. Just plain sadness. So I sat there and let it wash over me, refusing to fight, hide or minimize it.

Sadness comes to me in moments when I think of John and how he’s gone. In these moments I ponder where he is and what he’s doing. I silently weep and admit he is definitely enjoying life in heaven worshiping God, but I wonder what that looks like. Why am I saddened by this? Maybe because it’s so difficult to understand.


It’s another Friday on this side of heaven, and I’m determined to write about a new subject. . . Life.

Lately I’ve focused primarily on my body and not on my soul. As the thought of death has been haunting me these last two months, I feel a sense of frustration that I’ve only been thinking of death as the end of all things and not a mere transition from physical to spiritual life. My friend expressed some similar fears. She brought up C.S. Lewis and his series the Chronicles of Narnia, a story where children find a magical world by climbing through a wardrobe.

“This life is like the wardrobe, and Narnia is like heaven,” she told me. “We are just passing through.” We smiled at each other in spite of our fears.  I have to admit, no matter how you put it, death is still difficult to understand.

Last Sunday I watched The Lord of the Rings. This movie alone reminds me of Johnny. We watched it a lot when we were kids, acting out scenes and trading playing cards. One piece of dialogue in the movie helped me see life in a new way.

Pippin: I never thought it would end this way.
Gandalf: End? No, the journey does not end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take… The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass… And then you see it…
Pippin: What, Gandalf? See what?
Gandalf: White shores… And beyond… A far green country under a swift sunrise.
Pippin: Well, that isn’t so bad.
Gandalf: No… No, it isn’t.

Okay, I’ve definitely deemed myself a homeschooler by quoting both C.S. Lewis and Tolkien in the same blog post, but nonetheless I am resolved to focus not on death, but on life. The life to come, the life Johnny is living now, and the life I am commissioned to live on this side of heaven until my new journey begins.