Sunday, October 31, 2010

In His Arms

My sweet Maman Cecile is with the Lord. We will miss her deeply, yet I will rejoice because of the Lord's mercy to her. I am so thankful for the legacy she leaves behind. She was an amazing woman and I will look to her example for the rest of my life.

I don't think I have one single bad memory of Maman Cecile. Time spent with her was always amazing. She loved children, family, and making people around her feeling comfortable and at ease. She had a quiet confidence about her, a sense of independence mixed with the knowledge that her life was in the Lord's hands. She was always dignified in dress and conduct, even if we were vacationing by a lake deep in the Laurentian Mountains. And she loved a good practical joke.

She lived this way until she suffered a massive stroke, then a month of continued physical decline. What a comfort it is to know that she free in the heavenly places, free to worship, and with her Lord forever!


So while Jon was still in Asia, I booked flight tickets for the children and me, and headed home to Quebec. Since we booked only a day in advance, I took what I could get knowing that the itinerary was less than ideal. I had confidence that the Lord would go before me, and I prayed over every little detail. My prayers, and those of many others, were answered in amazing ways.

The funeral was sweet. It was really beautiful. Though there is much sadness, what inexplicable comfort there is for those whose sins are forgiven! My mother had been by my grandma's bedside everyday for that last month, and I was thankful for the opportunity to support her during her time of deep loss. There were many family members I had not seen in years (some as far back as my wedding), and it was a pleasure to be reunited with everyone.

Following that day, my kids and I stayed with my sister for the next week and my parents and brothers were able to spend some time with us as well. What a gift it was, in sort of a backward way, to have this unexpected time with my family! Everyone was tired, but we had no schedule or agenda. I was able to show my kids the town where I grew up, and to tour Ottawa (especially down town where Jon and I spent many of our date nights in high school). We went hiking in the Gatineau hills, and soaked in the beauty all around us. I never forget how much I love the Gatineau area in the fall! It was sort of therapeutic for me to be out there.

Jacob playing near where Jon proposed.

It was so fun to see my kids enjoy their grandparents, aunts and uncles. They really had a great time, and I think they've decided that Canada is where they want to live when they grow up.

The following pictures were taken in Wakefield, my home town (er, I mean village) where the steam train comes in. Since it was just past Canadian Thanksgiving, the train didn't come on weekdays.

The boys never just take a calm walk. They were running, throwing stones in the river, and in the ditch getting muddy, of course.

By the end of the week the weather was already turning to the cold and raining type of fall that I don't miss as much. It was so nice to be out in fresh air every day!

And then it was finally time to come home! I had missed Jon so much, and we all couldn't wait to be together again. The flight home was longer. It was an adventurous day, exhausting really, but I was happy we made our connecting flight in Newark despite several delays and gate changes. None of our seats were booked together, and we didn't have time to eat. But my love was waiting on the west coast and I couldn't wait to get there. The kids did well again, and I was so thankful.

Jon was waiting for us and it was a reunion I will never forget. Three weeks was a long time for us to be separated, but with everything that happened, it truly felt like six weeks. We had so much to tell each other, and it was so refreshing just to be side-by-side. Yes, refreshing and a relief. I love that man and its so good to be back in his arms.


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