Tag Archives: Heaven

The Littles

We’ve started the new Sunday School year in our congregation.  Even before Mama fell in May, I had planned to take the month of June off from teaching The Littles because of family vacation and a Yutzy reunion.  With the passing of my Sweet Mama, it was easy to just let other people take care of things and to soak up time with my peers in an adult class of women.  I needed them.  I needed the time.  And it was healing and good.

But I missed my littles.

IMG_0717

We had many good times in the crowded room beside the kitchen at Grace Fellowship Church’s gathering place, where our church body has been meeting since the fire damaged out building on the corner of Carpenter Bridge and Canterbury Roads.  This picture was take the night we got together to pack a goodie box for another child.  It was only taken seven months ago (Actually seven months ago today!) but I cannot believe how much they have grown and matured in these short months.  Katie is a self assured kindergartener, Judah is talking and paying much better attention and Charis is more aware of the needs of her classmates and is less jealous of her Grammy’s attention.  All three are more participant.

The summer had passed so quickly, and I thought often and prayed that God would show me whether I should offer to teach the class for the year coming up.  We have some talented young blood coming up in our church, and teaching is a blessing that is often overlooked in the maturation process.  I know that not everyone is cut out to teach, but I also know that choosing to teach has been one of the ways that God has used in my life to encourage growth, personal study and reliance on HIM for wisdom and courage and strength and even results.  The blessings that I have reaped have been beyond what I have deserved.  And quite honestly, though I really wanted to teach this particular class again, I also didn’t want to step in and  volunteer when God had laid it on someone else’s heart to teach the class.  He may have had blessings abundant in store for someone else, I reasoned, and it would be wrong for me to grasp someone else’s opportunity.  And so, even though I thought the end of summer was coming quickly, I decided to hold my peace and wait and see.

Then one of our superintendents, Davey Burkholder, approached me last Sunday and asked if I would be willing to teach that class of Littles.  I was suddenly unsure of what I should do.  I asked for some time to think about it.  He said that was fine, and in the reorganization part of our Sunday Morning service, it was announced that they were looking for a teacher for the class and they asked for volunteers.

“Whew!” I thought.  “That will be a defining event.  If someone volunteers, I will know that it isn’t for me this  year.”

But I kept mulling it over and over in my head.  I asked Certain Man what he thought  I should do.  He didn’t know.  And he didn’t feel strongly one way of the other from what he said.  I asked Middle Daughter whether she had any advice for me.

“Well, Mom,” she said carefully, “I think that wanting to teach the class is a pretty good indicator of what you should do.  It’s something you enjoy, and if you want to, then I think you should!  I’m taking the year off from the young women’s class, and if you need me, I can help you out.”  And that pretty much did it for me.

So I waited a few days, then called and got the curriculum and found myself back in one of my favorite spots yesterday morning.  The lesson that we used on Sunday was one from the last quarter that hadn’t been used, and it was called “A song for walking outdoors.”  One of the activities that I decided to do was to take the three on a walk outdoors looking for different things that they could pick up in nature to put in their ziploc plastic bags to take home with them.  A flower, a leaf, a seed pod, bark from a peeling tree, a stone, berries. Grace Fellowship Church is located in an industrial park, and is surrounded mostly by concrete and asphalt, but there were stones, a few trees, lots of weeds, and  a couple of patches of grass.  Around a corner and past a chain link fence divider there were some landscaping bushes around another building that I hoped would provide some berries for variety.

I checked the time and then said, “Let’s go over there and see what we can find.  There might be something different over there!”  The three of them were delighted and we headed out across the asphalt patch that separated the us from the other building.

“We have rules,” said Katie confidentially.  “We aren’t allowed to go anywhere on this pavement over here without a grown up.”

“That’s a good rule,” I told her.  “You should never go anywhere without a grown up unless your Daddy and Mommy say it is okay.  And this isn’t a good place for you to go unless there is a grown up with you.”

“Yup,” she said happily.  “But you are a grown up!”

I laughed.  “Yes,” I said, “I guess I am!”

“You are a very old grown up.” She said. (Emphasis Katie’s.)

And I laughed again.

Oh, my Katie-girl!  If you only knew how it is.  Just yesterday, my own girlies were five years old and learning family rules.  The day before that, it was me.  I only turned around twice before I got “very old.”  But you and your brother and my granddaughter, all growing so fast, remind of once was and I feel the eternity of the spirit in these old bones.  You cannot imagine how it is to feel five years old in your heart, but almost 62 in a body that will not run and jump and dance to the music of our incredible world.   But I promise you this.  There is coming a day when this body will dance to the music of Heaven.  And my spirit, eternal and free, will be as young as yours.

And what is inconceivable to me now will be an actuality.

My heart sings grateful praise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grace Fellowship Church, Laws Mennonite Church, My Life, Praise

Things That Didn’t Happen

She didn’t come for lunch on Sunday.  She wasn’t in church.  I thought about the potato salad, corn, and steaks on the grill and knew that she would really enjoy that lunch.  But she wasn’t there, so I couldn’t invite her home with us.  The memories of when she was there dogged my heart all day.  She would sit in my chair while we finished making lunch and play with Charis.  Silly little games that would have Charis helpless with laughter. Often on the way home, she would confide that the games made her so tired, “But I like playing with her so much.  She really gets into it, and it makes me happy.  I probably overdid it, but it was worth it to see her enjoy herself so much.”  There were no games in the corner chair this week.  Charis rode her bike while her Daddy and Grandpa minded the grill.  She didn’t mention anything about the empty chair.  The young are so resilient, but she sometimes crawls up on my lap and says, “Grammy, do you miss Grandma Yoder?”  (Oh, Girlie!  If you only knew . . .)

Yesterday morning, I came down to the kitchen and opened a window.  The oppressive heat had given way to an unusual August coolness, and the breeze came in with the sound of the mourning doves’ quiet calls.  The hummingbird feeder was empty again, and the jays were flying in for the peanuts on the platform feeder.  It was a good time to call my Sweet Mama.  There was weather to discuss, birds to report, and the pesky jays to criticize. But it was only a passing inclination.  Then there was just the mourning dove’s familiar call and I heard the echo in my stricken heart.

The day was a hard day.  I call it “grief work,” and it is not easy.  It stills my hands, makes it hard to do the things I know I need to do.  It keeps me from even the enjoyable some days because I just cannot get past the sudden, blinding moments when who my Sweet Mama was is now so far gone.  The moments she filled by being herself.

Often on Monday evenings, she would call me.  Monday is the day when it is almost impossible to get everything done, but she was looking forward to Tuesday (when she knew I would spend the day with her) so much that she would often “break down and call” me to see what the plans were for Tuesday.  Sometimes she called just to talk about the day, but often there were things she needed from the store, or prescriptions from Rite Aid that she wanted me to pick up for her before coming.  “I need creamer again — the kind with coconut flavor,” she would say, “if you can.  I seem to be going through it terribly fast, but I’m not the only one who drinks it.  Mark comes in and gets himself a cup of coffee and others seem to like it, too.  Oh, and I need some Tasters Choice.  I’m almost out.  If you see something that looks good, get it for me. I feel hungry, but nothing sounds good to me.”

Last evening, I was finishing up the laundry, came in from picking another five gallon bucket of lima beans, and was fixing supper for Blind Linda and Our Girl Audrey.  Things were in good order in the kitchen, thanks to the help for Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter, and I was thinking what had to be done yet before getting my ladies to bed.  Suddenly, I thought, “Oh, I haven’t talked to Mama today.  I wonder if she called while I was out picking beans?”

She had not.   I stood in my kitchen as the reality hit me again.  “What is it with this day?”  I wondered to myself as the tears dripped down.  “Why is Mama’s absence cropping up at every turn?”

Because that is the way grief is.  I realize am revisiting these rooms where the memories are filling every crack and crevice and where the changes and losses of the last year and a half of Mama’s life have diminished to almost nothing.  It’s hard to remember how it was, and it’s easy to remember the essence of my Sweet Mama and to long for her to be here, as she was for most of my memories — active, engaging, and always, always interested in what was going on in my life.

And now those things just don’t happen.  And it is the way it is.  This Tuesday (still marked as “Mama Day” on my calendar) came in on the crest of rain and wind.  Blind Linda had a fever, OGA had a dentist appointment.  Youngest Daughter’s car is in the shop.  Middle Daughter is in Dover.  It would have been a dreadfully inconvenient day to have to go to Mama’s house.  I would have had to juggle and shift and maybe even ask her if I could please come tomorrow.  She would have said that it was okay, but I would have heard in her voice that it wasn’t.  “I don’t know why, Mary Ann,” she would say, “But whenever I know it’s Tuesday and that you are coming, I have such a good feeling!  But it’s okay.  Tomorrow will be fine.  I’ll just look forward to that.”

And she would have.  But this morning, it didn’t happen.  Not that she cares from where she is.  Not that she even knows.  If she does know, I think she would say, “Mary Ann.  It’s okay.  It always was okay.  There is so much more to life there than what we think.  It’s okay.  Just put first things first, and always remember Heaven.  You cannot begin to imagine!.”

No, I cannot.  I think about the “City of Light, mid the stars–” and about Mama, being in the presence of Jesus.  I try to think about how she is enjoying the LIFE that she has there, and about what it must be like for her to be with Daddy and her parents and other people she loved so much here on earth.  I think about what it is like for her to “know as she is known.”  There’s no pretense, no misunderstanding, no competition, no jealousy,no inferiority.  And what it is like for her to have a new body; no more pain, struggle or failing health.  No aging.

And even though I cannot just “smile for a while to forget that I am blue,” I can plug into what God said would happen to my Sweet Mama in that very moment that she breathed her last breath here on earth and entered into the presence of God.  And this I choose to believe for all the days full of the reminders of the things that will never happen again.

This is the promise.

1 Corinthians 15:53-56 (NIV)

53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

And while I honestly don’t know what that will look like, I do believe that The Victory is hers.  Already.  Forever settled.  And all these things here are, if anything, but a dim memory.  This is smile worthy.

And so, my heart will bring a sacrifice of Grateful praise.

.IMG_0831
S
weet Mama and Charis, just 11 days before she fell.

3 Comments

Filed under Dealing with Grief, My Life

Of Roses and Rainbows and Promises and Quit Claims

There has been a plethora of emotions almost every day.  And stuff keeps happening so fast I can hardly keep up!  In fact, I’m not trying to keep up.  Just kinda’ going around in my little world, doing my stuff; laundry, cooking, changing beds, taking care of ladies, talking to my husband and kids, loving on my granddaughter, missing the grandsons, and my absent male Offspringin’s and their wives.  Just living!

There is more than enough sadness to go around, to tell you the truth.  It almost seems like my Sweet Mama started some sort of maudlin march that has people joining in right and left.  Yesterday, another beloved and valuable and wonderful man, Herman Kauffman, folded his tent and went away to take possession of his mansion.  That’s all well and good (and GLORIOUS) for him, but what about the people who loved him so intensely that he suddenly left behind?  My heart aches for them and for this old world who needs more people like the four that have gone to Heaven in less than four weeks from our community.  Alene Yoder.  Richard Bender, Eli Bontrager.  And now, Herman Kauffman.

But life goes one.  Tomorrow, Certain Man and I will mark another anniversary.  42 years ago we married in the same church where some of these funerals have been held.  Tonight, I looked up from what I was doing to see Daniel come in with a gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses and baby’s breath and greenery.

“We had yellow carnations at our wedding,” he said.  (We did???) “But I couldn’t get yellow carnations, so I decided to take yellow roses.”  They were so beautiful it almost took my breath away.  And I would have much rather had the yellow roses.  We did have roses at the wedding.  I had worked for Warren Golde’s wife, Jane Ellan, and they had allowed us to come the morning of the wedding and pick roses from their beautiful rose garden for the bridal party to carry.  They were simple as all get out, and unadorned by anything except some narrow ribbon, but they were just fine.  We were still very married.  I looked at this bouquet today and the man that brought them for me and I gave thanks for the here and now and the living and breathing earthly editions of LIFE that I’ve been allowed to love.

IMG_0358

The Bouquet sits on the tablecloth that I bought for my Sweet Mama.  She professed to like it when she was talking to me, but when she talked to my siblings, she confessed that she was bothered by the fact that the bugs on it looked so real.  I always loved it, and when she went to Heaven, I brought the tablecloth home and put it on my table.  It makes me laugh, and it makes me pensive and it makes a wellspring of memories spring up within my heart.

And then, tonight, after a supper of fried squash and chicken casserole that didn’t turn out very well, Youngest Daughter went to pick up a few groceries.  She was barely out of the house when she called me, and like her father, implored me to “Go look!!!  There is a gorgeous, complete rainbow out here.  You’ve gotta’ see it!  But you better go quick, or you’ll miss it!”

I took myself out over the slippery side deck where the moss makes navigation treacherous, down the steps, and across the lawn to the edge of the trees.  The rain was lightly falling, but there was this ethereal light around me.  And then, I saw it!  Stretching from one end of the sky to the other.  Perfectly complete.  This summer rainbow of promise.
IMG_0364

I don’t profess to understand all this grief.  I know there is a time to be born and a time to die.  I know it is appointed unto man once to die.  And we all will.  But how that will be, or where Heaven is, I don’t know. And sometimes I could “lose my steady” when I ponder and wonder and imagine and think about all the things that I don’t know.

But I do know this:

A God who has always kept His promises is worthy of my trust. 

And here, with a grateful heart, once again, I offer up my quit claim.

The Promises are enough.  I choose to believe

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

On This Rainy Night

It was such a wonderful day.  The friends who came, the people who served by setting up, cooking, serving the wonderful food, those who were still cleaning up when we finally went home, all of these kind people gave us an inestimable gift.  They extended comfort in the form of memories, hugs, encouraging words and assurances of their prayers.

Tonight, at home, with some of the things (I felt) needed to be done finally finished, I sit in the comfortable circle of my family, some of the dear faces missing, some still here for awhile.  I feel bone weariness, soul weariness, and the sub-conscious grief that tugs at my heart.  I haven’t really had time to think clearly about much.

Today we buried my Mama.  I looked at her face before closing the casket for the last time, and put my cheek against her cold one, and told her once again, “Oh, Mama.  You were such a good Mama.  I will always miss you.”  And I know I will.

And then the rest of the day was a blur.  There was lots of music, and there were so many people.  Our cousins from both sides of our big family sang songs that brought back a thousand memories and gave me hope and comfort.  My brothers, nephews, a niece, a son, a daughter and a family friend all worked together and the essence of my Sweet Mama was captured in the laughter and the tears and the words of Eternal Life. Six grandsons carried her gently to the final resting place and another grandson spoke the final familiar words while we sang songs of triumph that exalted in the face of the loss that I could not think about.  And then, we covered the grave.  My mama’s body, the shell of the woman who gave birth to me, was at rest.  I shall never see that form of my Mother again.

Tonight, I sit in this comfortable circle and a sturdy thunderstorm has moved in.  It has rumbled and crashed.  The lightening has flashed, and the rain has poured down in buckets.  I think of that fresh grave and think of the rain pouring down and wonder about the dirt that our family carefully piled in and around and over the vault until it was full and even with the ground.  I think of my Sweet Mama’s body, there under the earth and wonder if the vault is waterproof.

And then I feel that searing, desperate grief as I think of the natural decay of the body that I knew as my Mama’s.  I think of the damp trickling in, and the pretty dress and carefully combed hair and even the perfume that we spritzed on her neckline when we did her hair, and I suddenly want it all undone. I sit in my chair, alone and quiet in my sorrow while I finally have time to think about how this all is, and the tears just won’t stop.  She hated to be wet and cold.  She hated to be alone.  She hated the dark.

I need to stop.  I need to find comfort and I need to think differently.

And then, clear as an angel’s chime, I hear my Sweet Mama’s voice in my head.  It is December 23, 2005, and we have just buried our Precious Daddy.  And someone asked Mama about how she felt about leaving the grave on that cold December day.

“It really was okay,” she said, even in her deep, deep grief.  “It wasn’t Daddy that we left there.  That was just his shell.  He isn’t there.  It isn’t something that he even cares about.”  And as the months and now years have passed, she has never had the need to go to his grave.  She went very occasionally at first but has long since stopped going.  She just hasn’t had the desire or the need.

I can’t say that I am like that.  I still go to my Daddy’s grave when I am troubled or sad or just missing him so much.  I know he isn’t there, but the physical remains of the Daddy I knew and loved are there, and I am comforted some how.  Mostly I talk to Jesus, but sometimes I will cry out my anguished heart and try to think how he would answer me.  And I know that I will do that some more in these next months.

One of the things that was hard over these last few weeks was that there were times when Mama seemed more reluctant to engage her children than she was (outside the family) friends or even strangers, and I found that so hard until the night that Middle Daughter, our resident Hospice nurse stopped me on my way out the door to go to Mama’s side.  I was so sad and confused and weary that night. I had just asked my husband to please pray for me, and he had held me gently and prayed for wisdom and strength and courage.  Most of all, I hated it that I was dreading the time with my Mama.  But Deborah stopped me.  She hugged me and she said something like this:

“Mama, you need to remember that Grandma’s emotions are still on ‘this side.’  She knows that she is slipping away and she is deeply grieving the separation from her beloved children. She cannot yet see Heaven and all the Glory that is waiting for her there, so she is living still with the emotions of this world.  And engaging with you all is a reminder to her of all she’s going to part with, and it is just too hard.  Don’t take it personally, and don’t think she is cutting you out.  She is just working through this business of leaving, and there is no set way that this happens. She loves all of us intensely.  She loved living so much and with the emotions from this life, all of this is probably giving her a deep, deep sense of grief.”

That helped me so incredibly much to believe that God would work in all or our lives to stay focused and steady and working towards the time when she could go HOME. That the less I expected or asked of her, the more she could concentrate on that other world.  It could be our gift to her in this time when it felt our hearts would break.  Truly a sacrifice of praise.  And so, we did.  We kept our heads and hearts where we knew that our Heavenly Father’s care could hold us tenderly and we found Him faithful, and our Mama did not disappoint us.

And tonight, Mama’s emotions are all on the other side.  She is home free.  She is not thinking about a deserted grave in a dark cemetery or the rain or the ones she left behind.  She’s alive and free and timeless and full of incredible joy.  The journey to Heaven was but a split second from that last peaceful breath, and she is only beginning this new adventure.

And this aching heart still offers grateful praise.

‘Weep not.  Weep not.  She is not dead!  She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus!”  (James Weldon Johnson)

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

She’s HOME

It was soon after lunch that I texted my sister, Alma, who was keeping watch with her daughter, Carmen, and said that I was going to come out to Mama’s room where our family has kept constant watch for the last two weeks.  Each of Mama’s children has spent time by the bed in the corner, speaking love to our Sweet Mama, spooning food into her reluctant mouth, giving drinks of ice water, adjusting the fan, and, along with the amazing staff at Country Rest home, doing all we could to keep her as comfortable as possible.  There was music, there was sunlight, there were clean sheets and fresh nighties, there were gentle hands and kind words, there were prayers and prayers and more prayers.

I left my house around 3:15 and got into the room soon after 3:30.  The noise of my mother’s labored breathing was the first thing that I heard.  There was the swish of the oxygen in the background as I leaned over her bed and spoke to her.  She couldn’t talk, her eyes were seeing things I couldn’t.  When they would catch and hold mine, the suffering there wrung my heart.  “Oh, Lord Jesus!  How long?”

Mama’s sister, Alma Jean, was there with our sister, Alma, and Carmen.  It wasn’t too long until our sister, Sarah came and our brother, Mark, Jr., and we, along with Aunt Alma Jean, stood around her bed.  She just looked so bad.  I looked at that lined face, so sunken and tired and thought about how much the Mama of better days would hate this.  She always hoped that she wouldn’t have to suffer, especially gasping for breath.  My heart ached for her in the hard, hard work that she was doing.  And on this day, it seemed that none of the usual remedies worked.  And I suddenly realized that this was probably home going time.  That this labor, so like the labor of birth, was the inevitable labor of death.  It was hard.  It was real.  It was wrenching.  But Jesus was with us and His presence and the Hope of what was to come, kept us steady, even while we often wept.

Throughout the afternoon, family came and went.  There was a time, after supper when it was Sarah, Alma and I, Nel and Rose and Mark and Polly, were alone in the room and we sang for her, songs of faith, songs of Heaven, songs of our childhood.  I listened to the full, rich harmony of our family, singing our Mama Home, and felt the comfort and the peace of the unity we’ve been so blessed to enjoy, and my heart swelled with so much emotion it felt like it would explode.  We started with the song she first taught us, “Jesus Loves Me” and worked our way through “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” and many other old favorites.  Then, again, family started coming in.  She had three nurse granddaughters in the room at one time last night, and their tears told me more about the gravity of the situation than anything else.

Through it all, the labored breathing went on and on and on.  When it seemed like she just couldn’t breathe another breath, it still went on. Occasionally she would be with us, it seemed, but as the evening wore on, she was clearly leaving.  We prayed for God to just take her home, to set her free and to give her the ultimate healing.

And then, soon after ten, with granddaughter Holly on one side, and granddaughter, Carmen, on the other, and the rest of us sitting around and waiting, some in quiet conversation, some in contemplation, her breathing changed.  Instead of the ragged, labored breathing, there was this peaceful, no struggle, easy breaths.  Her face was peaceful.

“I think she’s going,” said Hospice trained nurse, Holly.

“Really?”  Said Carmen.  “You think so?”

“Yes,” breathed Holly.  “She’s is definitely going.”

We gathered around and we held her hands, touched her where we could reach her, and watched in awe as a Saint of God made her final journey.  Peaceful.  Quiet.  Eternal Rest.

How very much we will miss our Sweet Mama!  She has been where we go for comfort and understanding and reassurance and unconditional love.  But how we rejoice in her triumph!  What a joy to think of her in Heaven with Daddy and the rest of the family that has gone on before.  She loved living here.  Heaven is so much more.

I can only imagine.

And this grieving heart still swells with grateful praise.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Mama Sees What We Cannot

We were sitting there around her bed, Uncle Jesse, Aunt Gladys, Alma, Mark,Jr. and I.  Mama had been pretty much comatose for a couple of hours, barely responding to anything.  And never fully comprehensible in anything she said.  In earlier days, she would hear things in the bedside conversations that would shake her from her withdrawn state and she would ask, “What?” or “Who?” but today there was none of that.  Just watching the ceiling sometimes, following an unseen object that seemed to be moving from one area of the room to a far corner.  Sometimes she would have a small smile, sometimes a puzzled look. We were letting her rest and the conversation between the five of us was gentle.  Sweet.  Memories and concern and the sorrow of what we were seeing wrapped us in an easy camaraderie where time seemed to stand still..

Suddenly, without warning, Mama opened her eyes, her face awash with glorious joy.  She lifted both arms towards Heaven and made beckoning motions with her hands. And as clear as a bell, no mumbling, no stumbling, no trailing off, she said, “Oh!  Here’s my Sweetie!  When did you get back?  Come here!  I love you!” And then, just as quickly, she returned to her comatose state, but a look of puzzlement would sometimes fleet across her face like, “What was that about?” It was an incredibly Holy moment and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

This evening, she is still in that state, where it feels like one foot is on earth and one in Heaven.  She is seemingly less and less aware of this old world,  and is sleeping more and more. One of us local siblings is usually with her.  Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren come in and out.  We give drinks of ice water, and spoon a little bit of food in — if she allows us to.  These hard days are times of Grace and Glory–as well as the sadness that is part of every waking moment.

Surrounded by love, held tight in the prayers, secure in the eyes of The Father, we rest.

And my heart gives grateful praise

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Of Life and Hope and Frieda and Heaven

It’s the first Easter without her. Somehow the resurrection and the promise of The Eternal comfort me like never before. My brother was here this weekend, moving though our lives with grace, some tears, but also a determination to remember the good. He saw family, laughed and watched the activity that never stops when the Yoders are together, visited with Frieda’s family, fellowshipped with old friends, laughed with his cousins, comforted his aging mother with his presence and his tender care, ate pickled eggs and read old books. He was home, but he wasn’t. Never more than a breath away are the memories, drawing him to another time and another place. So many things to remember. He is a more pensive, gentler version of the man he has been, and though the grief has changed him, it hasn’t made him angry or bitter.

Saturday would have been her birthday. It is strange to mark the day without her. Even as I know that this is the way of LIFE, I hate this death business. Even stranger to me is how we mark a death and rejoice in a resurrection on the same weekend, but live as if we aren’t really paying attention to the fact that we have this hope within us. Most of the time, we don’t want to think about dying.

Tonight, I think of those who are already there, and wonder what they are doing. Has it been a split second for Daddy, these nine years since he crossed over? I just cannot comprehend. Sometimes I think I have to wrap my mind around it somehow. But how can a mere mortal understand Eternity, the very presence of God and His GLORY?

I stopped at my Daddy’s grave last week to think and pray and cry. In the next row, Freida’s gravestone, newly placed sat in its simple beauty. I hadn’t seen it there before, and in that moment I acutely missed the grace and honesty and fire that was my red-haired sister in law. I stepped over to her monument and touched the rough top of it, crying now so hard that I couldn’t see.

“We miss you so much,” I said. “I wish I had told you more often how much I loved you!” And then I went through the sharp Delaware wind to my van and came on home.

Home. My favorite place in all the world to be. Here are the people I love most. Here are the memories and the familiar. But even here there are scary things — medical issues, aging, auto accidents, bills, disappointment and reversal and loss. But when we get to THAT Home — ah, there will be nothing to disappoint, destroy, alarm or regret. There will be all the good and none of the bad. And I believe that the people I love most will be there, with good memories intact and none of the bad.

One time, in a desperately difficult time in my life, I dreamed that my Daddy came to me and he said, “Where I am, relationships are so easy because there are no regrets.” Sometimes that aspect of Heaven lures me more than anything else. And gives me pause to consider how to do relationships here with no regrets.

Brothers and sisters. In these days when we are so often bogged down with the things of living, may we fix our eyes on Jesus, believe His Words to us when He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will have life even if they die. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die!”

And may we live like we believe it.

1 Comment

Filed under Dealing with Grief, Family, Resurrection

Arrangements for Frieda Yoder

I know that my Redeemer lives,

and in the end, He will stand upon the earth.

Even after my skin has been destroyed,
in my flesh I will see God.

I will see Him myself:
I will see Him with my very own eyes.

How my soul wants that to happen . . .

Clint and Frieda

How my soul wants that to happen!!!
~Job 19:25-27 NCV

Arrangements for Frieda Yoder:

Calling Hours 6-8 pm @ New Holland Mennonite Church  –  Thursday Oct 30
          Calling Hours 6-8:30 pm @ Greenwood Mennonite Church – Sat. Nov. 1
          Burial – Greenwood Mennonite Church Cemetery 2 pm Sunday Nov 2
          Service – Greenwood Mennonite School – 3 pm Sunday Nov. 2
     –Viewing will be private for immediate family as Frieda requested.
     –New Holland Mennonite Church is located in New Holland, SC
     –Greenwood Mennonite Church and School are located in                                                  Greenwood, DE

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

. . . and she is Finally Home!

A call from my brother, and the words:  “Frieda is in Heaven!”

At 5:50 she winged her way Heavenward, easy and quiet, while her loved ones kept watch.  Brave, brave woman.  How very much she will be missed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Keeping Vigil/Cheering Frieda Home

Sixteen days ago, the voice was lilting and full of joy.  She eagerly looked forward to being in Heaven and was unafraid.  She is still looking forward to Heaven and is unafraid.  But she is very, very sick and that voice is almost non-existent.  She still knows her family and when she can, she has words for them.

The breaths are ragged and disorganized.  They catch my brother’s heart and wrench it.  He tends to her lovingly and tries to pray.  The words stick in his throat, and he feels so helpless.  If a heart breaking could be measured in decibels, the atmosphere would be shattered.

Ah, dear friends, how  very much he needs your prayers.  They all do — Clint, Shana, Doug, Juliana and Steven, Chip, Susan, Hannah and Clinty.  And Frieda.  Pray that her faith will soon be sight; that her suffering could cease; that she would hear the Angels singing and that death could be swallowed up in Victory.   Soon and very soon.

. . . and this for my beloved brother.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized