Monthly Archives: December 2005

Lem and His Grandma

Photo by Holly Yoder

        If  I could put any one picture on the website from the past two weeks that would depict the emotions that we all feel, I think it would be this one.  I am so thankful that Lem could come home.  I am so thankful that my daddy was the kind of man who loved his grandchildren in ways that he will be missed acutely.  I am so thankful for tears and for hugs and for family and for friends.  Today, when it is hard for me to remember how good I have it, I am especially grateful for Heaven.    Someday, “God will wipe away all tears from our eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:  For the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)


Lord Jesus, I believe.



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It is an ordinary Monday morning in so many ways.  The house is a MESS!!!  What alot of living has gone on within these walls in the past week.  I must do laundry so that Lem can go back to Phoenix with clean underwear and socks.  (I’ve been at that for a long time already.)  The dumbest thing I did was to stay up until 2:45 talking to Lem.  (It was not such a long time between then and 5:30.)  The smartest thing I did was to stay up and talk to Lem until 2:45.  So much to listen to, so much to think about, so many things that needed to be said.  Ah, I love the hear the hearts of my children, and see the finger of God in their lives — even (maybe especially!) when I see that God is chastening them.  I am comforted that He is not letting them go.  These adult children of ours who want (need!) to make their own decisions are never out of the reach of God, and I pray they continually reach for Him — but I pray, too that He reaches out for them.  Even when it means correction.  May God keep all our hearts soft.


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Sunday Morning,

I heard the phone at Five, and wondered at it’s shattering noise.

My Mama’s voice on the other end, summoning me to come.

“Daddy had a bad night – can you come?”

Less than sixteen hours later, he had a call.

It was his Father’s voice on the other end, summoning him home.

“Your mansion is ready, Mark — you can come.”


This morning, now, missing him so much,

Knowing he didn’t have a bad night,

Knowing he is safely home,

The tears are for me and for my precious Mama,

For my brothers and sisters and the people we married,

For the grandchildren and great grandchildren.

They say our loss is Heaven’s gain, and I believe it’s true.

Rejoicing there, I do believe, and choosing to believe,

Refreshes here, the joy that trickles in my heart.

Merry  Christmas, Daddy.


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Today we laid him to rest under the Delaware dirt that he loved so much.  Over the years, he has worked with his Creator to produce flowers and food and the best pole lima beans anywhere.  He loved the soil, and he would have loved this beautiful December day.

He would have loved the service today.  So many people he loved all together under one roof.  He would have been proud of our brave Mama, and he would have thought his nieces and nephews sounded good when they sang his Papa’s favorite song.  He would have smiled and said, “How ’bout that!”  and  “Is that right!”  and he would have been astounded that people loved him so much.  He may have thought the meeting was too long, and I know for a fact, he would NEVER have stood in line last night as long as most of his friends did. 

I have been so protected and surrounded this past week.  I realized today that I gain so much strength from other people, and their love and support make me feel strong.  Tonight, home, in the quiet, tired beyond belief — Now I cannot stop crying.  Certain Man took me back to the grave on the way home (at my request) and it started a veritable artisan well.  I am not strong at all tonight.

What will we ever do without him??????

“Lord send your angels to watch over me. . . I’m so afraid of the dark.  Lord send your angels to watch over me.  Wrap me in sheltering arms.”


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The days are running into each other, and there are so many things to think about.  I was glad that Polly posted on her Xanga what I had written to our extended families and friends about my Daddy’s homegoing.  (If you haven’t read that, and want to, just click on “PollythePatchworker” there in my “subscriptions” column.)  I am so thankful for the support, the prayers, the love and the comfort that have been offered by so many people.  I know that there will be plenty of days when I will not feel so surrounded, and there will be days that are hard — in fact this day seems to be getting off to a teary start.  But the memories of these days will help me through and I thank each of you for your gifts to me that have held me and my family steady.  Please pray for my Sweet Mama, especially.  The past two years have taken a toll physically and emotionally, and I know that these next two days will be so draining for her.  As much as I feel the loss of a wonderful Daddy, I cannot imagine what she must be feeling today. 

Last night, standing on the porch, talking to Mark Jr., he said, “I just miss my Daddy!”  It is simple, it is obvious, and it is seems like it ought to go without saying, but to hear and to say it is helpful to me.  And so I say it. . .  “I miss my daddy!”


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Over three weeks ago, I wrote this:  (I was really feeling alone…can you tell???)


Nobody really wants to hear

And no one wants to see my fear

Or get wet from a falling tear

Or get wet from a falling tear. . .

I’m waiting for the axe to fall

I’m waiting for the sad, sad call

To tell we’ve lost him after all

To tell we’ve lost him after all. . .

Oh, pain, walk softly on my heart

A sad, sad song begins to start

That says the time has come to part

That says the time has come to part. . .

I hoped this day would stay its hand

The hour glass would hold its sand

No summons yet from Heavenland–

No summons yet from Heavenland. . .

I think of Heaven’s brightest light

And that there will be no more night

And that what’s there is good and right–

And that what’s there is good and right. . .

I hold the hurt, the pain, the grief

wrapped in the warmth of my belief.

And know where there is sweet relief —

And know where there is sweet relief. . .



HOME FREE — Dec. 18, 2005

Oh, Daddy, how we shall miss you!


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Well, in spite of the fact that there were absolutely  “SDRAWKCAB SYAD” this past week that seemed to run into each other going and coming, we got around, and when the evening was done last night, it was one of our best times ever.  We even had children choosing songs to sing, (and for the first time ever, we didn’t have one request for “Jingle Bells.)  Our Karen did a splendid job, and there was good participation.  I had incredible help from my daughters and husband, too, and some of the people brought food to round out the menu, and we had fun!  Today is “Write The Christmas Letter Or ELSE!!!” day, so I need to get to that. 

My Daddy is not doing so well again.  He had some really great days before coming down with some sort of infection that is defying treatment.  I was there to see them this morning, and he is breathing so fast.  I wonder if that is from the medicine that he is taking, or if I should be concerned about something else.  He says he doesn’t feel really bad, but keeps spiking temps up to 103.  The bad news is that when he was to the doctor yesterday, they discovered that there are now enlarged lymph nodes on the left side.  This is something new, and each thing, however minor, coupled with everything else makes for rather grim news.  I don’t like to think about it . . .   But —

“He is our peace, who has broken down every wall

He is our peace, He is our peace.

He is peace, who has broken down every wall.

He is our peace.  He is our peace.

Cast all your care on Him for He careth for you.

He is our peace, He is our peace.

Cast all your care on Him, for He careth for you.

He is our peace.  He is our peace.”    (I don’t know who wrote this praise song, but it is meaningful to me in this uncertain time)


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I should be finishing the planning of my menu for Friday night, but I am bone weary, and it has been a stressful day.  I found myself crying in the car tonight when I went to pick up my girlie from quiz practice.  That is usually a sign that there is something really amiss somewhere.  I decided to consciously think of all the things that are bothering me, and that was enlightening, to say the least.  And I concluded that the sadness I feel is honest emotion, not something contrived or hormonal or even vicarious.  It is HERE.  It is MINE.  It needs to be thought about, grieved over, worked through, but it isn’t a nameless, vague, “I feel sad-ish” kind of thing. 

Lord Jesus,

When you see the things I cannot control

Make inroads on the things that I think I “need”

Or even just “want.”

When age and illness and distance and even my own wicked heart

Refuse all my attempts to bring them under my direction.

Remind me, even as you have tonight,

That control belongs to you.

It isn’t self control, or trying hard enough or air line tickets or medical science or vitamins

That will win the battles.

It’s You.  Despised and rejected of Men.

It’s You. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

It’s You.  Bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows.

It’s You.  Wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.

It’s You.  The chastisement of our peace upon you.

It’s You.  By your stripes we are healed.

You’ve already done it.  It has been long done.

Let my heart become another manger.

May you be pleased to dwell there in your Holy Glory.

How very much I need you.


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For Gertrude. . .

The other day, I passed the place you always liked to go. 

 And I picked up the phone because I thought you’d want to know.

But I forgot you weren’t there.  I miss you all these days.

When I’m reminded of your smile and the funny things you’d say.

I miss you most at Christmas.  You were like a little kid.

You always loved a good surprise, and now I must admit

That I long more for Heaven, than I ever did before.

You give me one more reason, and each day I want it more. 

Knowing we can spend a lifetime, reminiscing on the past.

Knowing I will see your face again, where tender moments last.

It makes me want to go there, knowing I won’t be alone.

Knowing you’ll be there, makes it easy to go Home.                            


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Guess what!  Not Going to Baltimore!!!  The real thanks comes from this NOT being so URGENT that we MUST go!  I am so thankful for the mercy of God in sparing my Mama’s life and allowing us to have her a little longer.  She makes every day a little brighter. 

Now, the possibilities of this day are diverse and exciting.  I am glad for a day to be at home.

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