Friday, December 23, 2011

Going Home for Christmas

This season two dear friends went home early for Christmas.

They said goodbye to the decaying earth and this brief discordant prelude to eternity, and "moved" to their heavenly abode.

After the Bible camp a couple of weeks ago, I learned that Deana, a gal I had worked with at the newspaper for a long time had passed away only a few days before. A long hidden illness had cut her life short quickly.

The news was jarring and I found myself frozen in moments of shock in the days following. She was among the first people I met at The Chief and she taught me much about the inner workings of a newspaper. We spent many hours in the office, working side by side - our desks hardly ten feet apart for a number of years.

At 42, Deana's life seemed cut short, and I wondered why. She seemed to have so much more life to live, dreams to pursue, goals to meet, family and friends to be with and enjoy. But her Creator called her home.

Though I will miss her smiling face behind the desk, I will remember and treasure the things I learned from her, especially those beyond the printed page. Devotion to Jesus and her church, loyalty and love for her large family and her wide circle of friends, creativity shared in generous ways, selfless dedication to her work - these qualities of Deana's remain in my heart and my memory.

Then this week I learned of the passing of Grandpa Grass, a father, grandfather and great-grandfather of some dear friends of mine. I also called him Grandpa and so enjoyed the times I saw and visited with him. One such a time was just days before I left again for Uganda this past summer. I cherish those memories.

He was 91 and had bravely endured pain and suffering for some time. His dear bride of many years had gone before him earlier this year and I know his heart was aching to be reunited with her. I can also only imagine how he longed to see his Savior face to face - the one he had loved and served for many years. 

As I write, my heart is aching as I miss these dear souls. I wish I was in the states to be there to help provide comfort and support as their family and friends honor their memory in various services. I will miss seeing Deana and Grandpa Grass when I return home. I think the sense of loss will be felt once again.

Yet, they say you cannot be in two places at one time. And as we prepare for the imminent celebration of Christ's birth and His coming to earth, I imagine Deana and Grandpa Grass are very glad to be "home" for Christmas this year.


  1. You're one of many walking through the difficult stretch that suddenly strikes... even though we know the "leavers" are in the "Welcome Home" eternal place. You will be a warm, encouraging loved one who will do special family greetings when you return home for a visit.

    But, all in all, sorry your heart is being stretched and stressed while you are recovering from malaria... bit of a tough time.

    Bless you.

  2. Ruthie--I didn't know Deana, but I am so glad to hear she is a Christian. Through my tears for Grandpa Grass, I imagine him reuniting with Grandma Grass as well, and I am so excited because of that blessed reunion of them both, whole, without pain or weakness. It's going to be the best Christmas for them and Deana!

  3. Joanne, thank you for always being such an encouragement! I am grateful that the Lord has been so gracious during this time - to bring both healing, comfort and joy.
    Lauren, yes, the Christmas celebration that Deana, Grandpa Grass and so many other of our dear ones enjoyed probably is no comparison to our "attempts" here. :)
    Thank you, Marmee! :)