October is a month filled with falling leaves, pumpkins and football. The days get shorter and the air gets cooler. We have joy seeing scarecrows, wearing hoodies and going on hayrides. My parents celebrated their anniversary on October 1 and if my dad were living today, they would have been married 50 years.
There was a time in my family when October wasn’t so happy. My mom lost all three sisters to cancer and two of them died in October. She also lost a nephew in October. These were during my young adult years and it caused October to have a black cloud of sadness. Time passed and October continued to be a time for leaves, pumpkins and football.
On the last day of October 2010, my mom was in a very scary car accident. She escaped serious injury but the car was totaled. On that same day, we made a difficult decision to leave a church where my husband was pastor. It began a long year of uncertainty but we knew that God had bigger and better plans for us. One year later, God revealed those plans for us as we were finalizing for him to become the pastor of a new church that was filled with people who loved God, loved missions and most importantly, loved their pastor. October once again became a month of leaves, pumpkin rolls (thanks to a sweet lady in the new church) and football, always a favorite of my husband.
On October 6, 2012, I received a frantic call from my mom. “The house is on fire.” We jumped in the car and drove the hour to her house. I prayed the whole way there to save my childhood home. As we came closer to her house and I could look across the farm field to see it in the distance, I saw that the roof was still on and the house looked normal. The firemen were able to contain the fire that had been smoldering in the attic. Although it was inches from making it up the rafters and to the roof, it was caught just in time. She was out of her home for 3 months while reconstruction took place. October continued with leaves (lots at her house), pumpkins, but no football – she isn’t a fan.
Two years later. October 7, 2015. October falls. It replays in my head like a bad movie flashback. The day before, my husband had a procedure to shock his heart back into rhythm. Everything went well and he woke up in tears to the news that it worked. Later than night he was discouraged because he felt like it was out of rhythm. The next morning on October 7, he said he felt great. I didn’t want to go to work so I stayed a little longer with him but he said he thought his heart was in rhythm and he wanted to go prepare his Bible study for that night. Before we both left for work, I wanted to know his heartbeat was normal. Since I couldn’t find the pulse, I put my head on his chest to hear it and it was in rhythm. Little did I know, that would be the last time I would hear and feel his heartbeat. That afternoon, I got a frantic call from my 12 year old daughter and she said the words, “Dad’s not breathing!” I rushed home to find emergency personnel and lots of people at my house. The police officer stopped me at the door and said, “I’m sorry, he’s gone.” I fell to the floor crying out in shock as I looked my daughter in the eyes.
Like leaves beneath my feet, I was crushed and shattered. After recently celebrating 20 years of marriage, he was gone. He took a nap and woke up with Jesus. That October was a month of shock and uncertainty. I had been here before but this time I felt alone.
Two years later and October 2017 is here with leaves that are changing color, pumpkin spice in way too many things and football – it will always be a part of our home. Just like leaves changing colors, life changes too. It wasn’t the way that I had expected and wasn’t the way that I had planned. Fortunately, my faith is strong and so I must remain strong too. October may always have that tint of sadness but I know that God is the author of my story and my October may fall but He will pick me up and show me the beauty as he paints October each Fall.