A year ago today, (Well, actually yesterday now because of the time!) I put the following message from my cousin, Jon Yoder, on my blog. It was the culmination of two very intense days, beginning with the news that his beautiful wife, Dawn, had been struck by lightning, and the outlook was very grim.
Dawn, our amazing mother, wife, daughter has been declared brain dead by 2 doctors, with her EEG showing no activity. We believe that she entered heaven instantaneously 2 days ago, but we are now as a family turning her body over to the organ donation center of Alabama, so that she may share her life with others. That is typical of the life she lived, and it is so much like her. We will miss her, but we know she is in God’s protective care, and we want to praise Him for his faithfulness. I write with this tears in my eyes, but with joy in my heart as Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints. And she definitely received “Well done, thou faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord. She is free at last!
-Jon, Robert, Kristin, Amber, and Stephen and all the family
Today, Jon and his family are preparing for the weekend wedding of Jon and Dawn’s oldest son, Robert. Robert is marrying a wonderful girlie, Michelle Schrock, whose inner beauty shines out of lovely eyes in an equally beautiful face. Robert’s Mama would be so happy for him, so welcoming of Michelle. Dawn would be the one to keep everything running smoothly in the Groom’s department, and she would handle the company, the details, the food with her usual quiet confidence and energy and flair for elegance, partnering as usual with the man who was not only her husband, but also her soul mate and best friend.
But she isn’t there. At least they can’t see her. I’ve been listening to my cousin, Jon, as he handles these days, and I read his blog (www.xanga.com/gratefuldoc) and have struggled with the tears that keep surprising me. Tonight I was thinking about how Dawn is influencing these days even though she isn’t physically here. It was impressed on my heart that it is another case where a woman did her life’s work “right” all the years that she was granted and now it is paying off. Jon and the children are doing things that are the way the family has consistently done things, and how they would do things if she were here. She would be seeing the things that need to be done and either quietly doing them herself, or finding someone who would. She would be proud of them, she would be contentedly watchful, she would be the glue that held everything steady.
You know what? In a very real sense, she still is. The influence of Dawn Yoder didn’t die when her heart ceased its beating. And at times like this, when her family misses her so intently, it seems like she is alive in the choices they make and the things they do and the stories they tell and the way they are. Their very lives honor her. They are choosing, once again, to Not Waste Her Life!
I am so proud of them. So challenged by them. So incredibly blessed and encouraged by them. I still wish that she wouldn’t have had to leave them so prematurely. But this family’s trust in the Heavenly Father through it all, their confidence that God wasn’t absent on that Alabama morning, that He still has a plan for them, and their courage in the face of their raw, unrelenting grief and unfathomable loss, has given me hope and comfort.
And while that doesn’t make it “worth it” (I’m convinced that there is precious little this side of Heaven that will make it “worth it”) still it sits in my heart with a calm that can only be Our Father’s doings. I don’t feel like I have to know “why”. I no longer feel a need to rush in with a platitude or a spiritual law or even a diversion. The grief is real. It’s unavoidable. It’s incredibly hard. But Jesus is there. He was there. He will be there. He promised. He also promised that He will be enough.
And that is where I’ve decided to anchor my little boat.
Blessings to you, Jon, and to your family in these exciting days. “May the Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ rest and abide with each of you until you meet again.”
I surely do love you!