It’s a glorious golden autumn day here in the East of England.
The sun shines on trees still proudly waving their fluttering flags of autumn leaves. The builders clambering around scaffolding on a nearby house have cheerful music playing on their radio. There’s a huge removals van at the house opposite as my neighbour moves across town, and next week there will be a repeat as my neighbour on the other side also moves away.
I’ll miss them.
It’s a time of change – change all around me as autumn winds and rain take the last leaves off the trees, and my friends move away. But I’m still here and the basic things of my life don’t change.
I go to visit my husband in the care facility every few days and he is still there. I met my old neighbour in the supermarket yesterday and her husband, also suffering from dementia and diagnosed at much the same time as my husband, is still there. Yes, both are deteriorating visibly by the day, but both remain. It is indeed, as a famous book on dementia calls it, a long goodbye.
Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says it well: ‘There is a time for everything.’ This is the time for my current neighbours to move house. And for me to remain. There was a tram crash recently when a nineteen-year-old died, so this is the time for some people, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, to keep on holding on to life, and for others to lose it. And to be political, it is a time when some folk get the result they want (Brexit, Donald Trump) and others are shocked into fear and speechlessness.
And I don’t understand.
But I trust that God does and that He knows what He’s doing.