I gathered the six little children together and told them: “We are going to sing a song over the phone for your great-grandpa in Ohio, who is about to go to Heaven where Daddy and Jesus are.”
They all stood in a circle in the living room. Jesse suggested we sing Daddy’s song: “Oh, the Best is Yet to Come.”
My heartbeat quickened as I waited for Grandma to pick up her phone, 400 miles away. I didn’t know what she was going through, yet I did. Saying goodbye is no simple matter. Hearing her voice was soothing and broke my heart, all in one.
The children and I joined in song. I blinked back the tears, knowing that if I got too emotional, the children would get stressed about mama and be distracted from their singing. So together, we sang, “I see the lifeboat coming, to take me safely home… for the first time I’ll see Jesus, oh I can hardly wait…”
In my mind, I pictured what life used to be: my husband Daniel sitting at the table with all of us, once more leading his favorite song. I could see him there with both hands pointing to heaven and his head back and eyes closed, singing from the bottom of his heart. His little ones joined in, Jesse singing in his powerful little-man voice and hands pointing up, Elijah with eyes squinted almost shut, Hosanna beaming as she sang, letting out an occasional giggle as she sang. We had no idea how true those words were as Daddy picked that song repeatedly. Now, believe it or not, this song, sung by our children, and other songs sung by Daniel himself are on a song line you can personally call; hang on til the last paragraph, and I’ll give you that number!
So here we were. We all knew great grandpa was about to go where Daddy is. It was so hard to think of what great grandpa was going through, yet so exciting to know that he, too, would soon join the angel throng. And as Daniel would say, we will all have our turn one day if we walk in obedience to God!
Now, as the children are navigating their way through this entire process, they have questions. Some questions have answers. Others don’t. “When is he going to die? Why is he going to die? Are we all going to go see him then?”
Fair questions. Some are simple. Some are not.
I admit, I think of the excruciating emotional pain the children and I went through after Daniel went to Heaven, then of taking them to another visitation, and I feel my legs getting weak. I feel so little.
Okay, I’m only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, but that’s not what I mean, I feel so little and helpless as I think of grief and our precious children hurting so much. I know how vividly those memories come flooding back in times as this. There is a knot in my stomach, I wonder how I’ll ever eat again.
The question comes to mind, “How did we do it four months ago when it was our turn for real?” The only answer I know is taking a second, or split second at a time, giving each one to God, and giving him our “Yes” through every step. Truly, he has met every need. So just like you have done, and still do through the maze of your life, we keep taking this moment… now this moment… and now this one.
My heart melted when Mom related how Grandpa put in much effort to lead in prayer the last morning he was able to talk ever so lightly, as he has done every morning throughout their 61 years of marriage. That morning he prayed for the children and me three times. Such rich love and care! Surely it is a refection of all the many prayers he’s prayed for us these last months.
Now if you’d like, take a moment with me as we listen to Daniel, as he sings on his parents’ voicemail. And you know what? Daniel would doubtlessly say, “It is for you personally.” He used to help me pray for all of you. So, take it to heart and listen in! The messages shared at his funeral are also available on this number. Just call 712-432-8774. The conference ID is 33#, then dial 0# for the menu. Enjoy!
Amazing Apple Pie Bars
3 3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup butter
1 cup cold water
10 cups chopped apples
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix dough ingredients together and roll out like pie dough.
Place half of dough in the bottom of a 15-inch by 11-inch rimmed cookie sheet.
Now mix filling ingredients together and spread on top of unbaked crust.
Dot with several tablespoons butter.
Place another half of rolled out dough on top of filling mixture or cut in strips and place on filling, lattice style.
Beat an egg and brush on top crust.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Enjoy hot from the oven or chilled. Yummy with homemade vanilla ice cream!
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427