When I was a kid, I loved November. Thanksgiving was a great holiday for a kid like me who enjoys wearing sweaters and eating pie. When I was in college, I loved November. We came home to the Cranberry Classic basketball tournament, sporting our newly minted Greek letters or school colors. There was just enough break for us to catch a breather before finals.
As an adult and a farm family, November has become a little harder. Harvest *should* be done. The weather is getting colder, so chores are less fun. The nights start at 4:30, and if you're a mom of toddlers, going to bed at 5:30 makes for a hard next day.
Four years ago, November took a whole other meaning. We lost Joe's mom to cancer November 20th. Josie's birthday is just a week after, and while we are still celebratory and together around that time, November is still hard.
Yesterday, in true November form, we received the news that we lost one of our friends, Jay.
November, you're relentless. Cancer, you stink.
I just saw Jay about a month or so ago, maybe longer. I was having a lunch meeting at a little restaurant off the interstate, and in he walked, plopping right next to me, introducing himself to my colleagues. After my meeting ended, I went over and sat with him, joking with him about how he was eating pie before his lunch. "You gotta live, Miss Emily."
Yep. You do.
Jay was one of those guys who made Joe and me laugh about everything and anything. When we first had Josie, we were attending a mutual friend's wedding. I was holding our newborn, standing and chatting with Jay while Joe was off talking somewhere else. Another one of Jay's friends (did he have millions of friends or what?) came up and Jay said, just as casually as he could, "Have you met my wife, Emily?"
We laughed so hard that day, and every time I saw him or he saw Joe, he would ask, "How's my wife?"
He was a talented and smart and funny and witty and complex guy. But he was sick. When I saw him last, we spoke of Joe's health and when I asked him how he was, "I'm okay today!" was his cheerful answer.
I believed him.
I just don't get this world we live in. I don't understand God's plan when it includes taking people like Jay out of the world at such a young age. Jay had already lost his mom at an even younger age, and now his dad has to go through this? This is what brings me to tears today. The unfairness of it all.
Friends, I am here to tell you that I'm done with November. Today I'm sad and tired of trying to explain why my iPhone knows where I am at all times and can get me an Uber, a Starbucks, and everything on Amazon, and yet we keep losing friends and family to this crappy disease.
November, you're relentless.
However, I am too. I will keep telling stories about Grammy to my kids who never met her to keep those memories alive. I will hold fast to the last hug I gave to Jay and will chuckle every time I think of him and his funny references and stories. Joe and I rarely say the correct city name for Davenport, Iowa. Thanks to Jay, it's Couch to us.
Rest in peace, Jay. This Thanksgiving, I'll eat pie first in your honor.