Recounting darkest day isn’t easy


The door swung open, in walked my mother, kindly asking, “Gloria, did you hear that Daniel was in a logging accident? There are two squads sitting in your driveway.”

Children scattered in all directions. Howls erupted on all sides. “Is Daddy OK? What happened? Is he gonna die?”

There were no answers.

Grandpa watched the children, I headed for the woods.

Dashing through the briers, I dropped down beside Daniel. Could it be true?

I poured all the love I ever had on him while the paramedics did all they could.

Soon Daniel was taken to the ambulance and I sprinted to the house, meeting our six little children, overflowing with questions. I told them I’m going to need to go with Daddy in the ambulance to see him off in Robinson, where he’ll be life-flighted to Evansville, Indiana.

Tears and more tears followed. “Mom, we want you with us!”

My heart bent in two. I’m a mom, but I’m also a wife.

I tried assuring them they’ll be OK, and I made quick plans of meeting them on Route 1 where we’d all head to Evansville together.

Sirens whistling, we made our way to Robinson. I kept talking, singing, praying, and assuring Daniel. By now he was responding and feebly told me of the excruciating pain in his abdomen and lower back.

Arriving next to the helicopter pad, I dreaded what was coming next. There was no choice.

I bade him goodbye, and watched as the helicopter picked up speed, gently lifted and turned south, heading off with greatest prize I ever knew or loved. Feelings ran too deep for words, even too deep for tears.

Now heading to where my parents, the children and babysitters were waiting for us, and I kept watching the chopper.

“You know, it really seems like there are angels around that helicopter,” I thought as I watched it grow smaller by the second.

Moments later my brother, who was with me, said, “You know, there are angels around that helicopter.” There was no doubt, God would watch over him.

Now as we launched into our one-and-a-half hour drive to Evansville, I told the children all I could about their beloved Daddy, yet speaking softly and generally enough to shield them from any unneeded trauma.

The children went for lunch as my parents and I headed inside the hospital.

I slipped on my mask and stepped over to the desk, introducing myself. The receptionist’s response troubled me more than I dared to admit. “You may be seated while you wait on the chaplain.”

We inquired on when we could see Daniel.

She kindly but firmly informed us that they’re not able to let anyone go back, as his room was filled with people working on him, ever since his arrival.

Going to a little quiet room, I dropped to my knees. “Surely not, surely not Lord.”

The following hours were a blur. I tried to eat. I thought of orange juice and how Hubby would buy orange juice for me, just to show his love.

Fresh tears rained down my cheeks. Would he ever have that opportunity again?

That afternoon he had two surgeries to see where the excessive bleeding could be coming from… no success.

My physical strength was gone, my mental capacity filled, and without a miracle, I would be a widow in a matter of hours.

Still, I was not prepared for that final dreaded report from the doctor.

The moment I had permission, I was off to see Daniel. Entering his room, I made a dash for his side and told him I’m here with him. He opened his eyes a tiny bit — he heard! Despite the heartache, I was thrilled.

My heart tore as I watched pain rack his being. I tried to soothe him and I sang songs, recited his favorite verses, and assured him of my love over and over. As I spoke to him about our children and of my commitment to raise them just as he taught me to, tears welled up in his eyes, as I tenderly wiped them.

He knew. I knew. I told him that it’s OK for him to go to be with Jesus.

At one point I said, “If you want me to tell the children you love them and will be waiting for them in heaven, open your eyes.” At this, he distinctly opened his eyes. Joy flooded my being once more; how special this would be to their hurting hearts.

One-sided conversations, too precious to tell, followed as I wiped more tears for him.

There was something else I just had to tell him: “Daniel, the guys at home checked what you were doing while logging, and said it wasn’t your fault. You did all you could.”

Here his pain-filled eyes opened as wide as he could. He heard. I assured him that God’s ways are always best, and that he’ll care for all of us.

Soon Daniel’s parents and brother John walked in the room. As his mother spoke to him, he turned his head and looked up at her. I was amazed.

I’ll never forget those last precious breaths at 9:15 that night. Thanks to the medical team, who gave it all they had, including the 100-plus units of blood they gave him.

Since then there have been bushels of tears, children sorting through the shock, countless questions, yet a God that keeps proving himself bigger than it all!

God bless you all for your love, contributions, and support!

(Editor’s Note: There is no recipe this week.)

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

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