Certain Man and I are safely landed at Eldest Son’s house in Sugarcreek, Ohio.  It has been a very busy, emotionally draining, but GLORIOUS five days since we received word of Mom Yutzy’s passing.  It has been wondrous, indeed, to watch God’s gifts to us over the last week.  There are things that are too incredible to be co-incidental.

First and foremost: We are without chickens.  The one thing that was going to be a real problem was a formaldehyde treatment for our chicken houses that HAD to be done on Saturday or Monday.  This was the primary reason we had decided not to go to Ohio this weekend to see Mom Yutzy.  And when it seemed like she had rallied, and was expected to last a few more weeks, maybe MONTHS, we felt like it was God’s direct provision for us.  Then, on Wednesday, our service man called and said that they had changed it to Thursday morning, first thing.  So when the call came that Mom was gone, by the time we got ready to leave, the treatment was finished, and CM was able to do his part of turning off the gas, and making sure everything was in order.  While we have been here in Ohio, we got word that our “chicks in” date has gotten moved back a day, making things so much easier for when we get home.


The 19 Grandchildren of Sue Yutzy 

Back row: Raphael Yutzy and Lem Yutzy (Oldest and Youngest Sons of Daniel) Jay Yutzy (Oldest Son of Joseph) Aaron and Peter Zehr (Fourth and Fifth Sons of Rachel)  David Zehr (Only Son of Ruth) Mark, Jeremy and Philip Zehr (Oldest Son, Third Son and Second Son of Rachel) Weston Yutzy (Youngest Son of Joseph).
Second row: Deborah and Rachel Yutzy and Christina Bontrager (Middle, Youngest and Oldest Daughters of Daniel) Anna Rose Zimmerman and Miriam Bergey (Oldest and Youngest Daughters of Rachel) Joy Cedarquist (Daughter of Joseph) Bethany Weaver, Katie Steria and Charity Zehr (Middle, Oldest and Youngest Daughters of Ruth).

There were additional gifts — things we couldn’t have orchestrated, like lodging arrangements, traveling mercies, all the grandchildren being able to be there, unbelievable provision for this “completely out of state” immediate family that included wonderful three meals, an after viewing snack that was more like a meal, warm and encouraging friends who shared hugs and prayers and kind words and sleeping/living spaces and positive memories of Mom that we would never have known.  What wondrous LOVE is this?

And the weather!  We woke to ice on Friday morning, and it was cold and unpredictable for the next two day.  Monday morning, the day of the funeral, dawned sunny and clear. CM father’s funeral in November of 2010 was bitterly cold and windy, but this day was calm and bearable.  The funeral went without a hitch, and the time around the grave was so meaningful.  

One of the things that the Ohio family does is always cover the grave as part of the committal service.  They see it as a final service, a labor of love to their beloved family member.  Yesterday, there was even a small shovel provided for children, and it was special to see our Grandbaby, Charis, shovel a few shovels of dirt onto the grave of her great grandmother.  It was precious, precious, as each of our children and our beloved son in law, Jesse, took their turns as well.  I wish so much that it was something that would be done as a matter of course in Delaware.  Years ago, when Daniel’s brother, Joseph, was killed in a truck accident and buried in the Greenwood cemetery, Certain Man, and his father were startled to discover that the grave was covered by strangers.  They appealed and won the right to come back later with several of Joseph’s close friends to help cover the grave.  Daniel’s father felt that to not be allowed to do this would be a grave injustice to the family.  It has been done a few times in recent times.  When my precious daddy died in 2005, I know it was a big leap for some of my siblings, but Daniel and I so much wanted to have the opportunity that the family agreed.  Since then it has happened a few times, and it seems to be a most meaningful part of saying good-bye.

And then it was time to wrap us some things regarding paperwork, meet old friends and some family for supper, sort out some of the things from the funeral and to  crash at Greg and Valarie’s house for one more night in that great bed.  This morning we slept in, packed, ate a breakfast with Greg and Valerie, picked up Lena on the next street, dropped her off at the airport and got on our way to Holmes County.     

And now we have this chance to spend some time with our three new grandbabies.  And “babies” are what they really are! The three year old is two years and one week older than the youngest, one year and one day older than the middle one.  And the middle one was born on my birthday!  How cool is that?  I think it’s beyond Cool!

Lord willing, we plan to be home sometime tomorrow.  I’m anxious to be there, but I’m not exactly looking forward to the drive.  We have a book to read:  Not Bad for an Amish Boy, written by Eli Helmuth, a friend of both of us, with lots of familiar names and places in it.  We started it today, and are enjoying it while the miles roll by.  It is a cold and rainy day, and sharing the words of an interesting book in a warm car while the windshield wipers slap back and forth makes for cozy driving.

The boys are napping (that would be the three little ones, their daddy and grandpa as well!) and soon it will be supper time.  Wherever you and those you love are tonight, may you be safe and warm and dry.  And don’t forget to share with those who have less.

Thank God for the Hope of Heaven!



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7 responses to “

  1. thanks for sharing…..I have found it meaningful to be able to help cover a grave myself..the first time I really remember seeing this done was when Fred & I were in Alaska and our pastor’s wife was killed in a tragic car accident.  The men carried the coffin a long ways to where it was to be buried and all of the shoveling was done by hand by the people at the funeral.

  2. Beautiful testamony to the love of God. And the gifts he gives us when we need them the most. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. They dont even allow you to stay at the graveside here when the workers cover the grave with soil. Next time I’m over there I am gonna ask what the policy is–just to know

  3. This custom is traditional in the Bontrager Clan, and we last performed it here in DE for James’ Mama when she was called Home 4 years ago in March.

  4. I love reading about your life. It is quite different, yet much the same as mine. I am praising the Lord for all the “coincidental” things He worked out for you all. He is such a caring, loving Lord! Like Maggietx1 said, they don’t allow us to stay at the graveside for the covering of the grave. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been healing to my Daddy to be able to cover the grave of my brother so many years ago. I was 13 years old when Danny died, and I can still see clearly in my mind’s eye Daddy’s brothers having to drag him away from that grave. It was the worst part of the day for me.It is so wonderful that you are getting in a visit with your new grandbabies!! I know you are just soaking them up!

  5. Yes, thank God for hope and for Heaven. We only saw the family shovel the dirt one time. We had never even heard of it before. This was a family that had moved to IN. from Fresno, Calif. They had been Church of the Brethren, but later became Grace Brethren. Enjoy the grandbabies.

  6. I had wanted to do that for Mom but things weren’t working right for Greg…Not sure why I didn’t think of it with Daddy…It’s a custom among my Native friends.. such a lovely way to say good-bye

  7. We did that with my grandfather. I hesitate to say I “liked” it but it was complete closure and somehow seemed right.

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