“Oh thank you — they are beautiful,” I said gazing at the six bright red roses, now setting on the kitchen table.
“Mom, could we take these roses that Owen gave and put them on Daddy’s grave?” a little voice asked.
I knew it was the thing to do, it had been a while since we were at the graveyard and surely my mental ‘home work’ of once more facing that reality could be dealt with sooner or later; if the children were ready to go again, there was no other option.
Now, a couple nights later it came together. Julia and I stepped into the pantry and shut the door where we planned and packed an extra special picnic for all seven of us.
The old double stroller, which we as a family had pushed many a mile when Jesse and Elijah were babies, was stacked with firewood, camp chairs, and two children.
After our short walk down the gravel road and into a little wooded area, we all gathered around the mound by Daddy’s grave. Austin handed a red rose to each child. They clutched their roses as we sang Daddy’s favorite songs, I’m Only a Pilgrim and Blessed Assurance, then of course, two year old Joshua’s favorite, Praise Him for Daddy Dear.
Each child then placed their rose on a spot of his or her choice on the grave.
“I’m going to put my ‘by his head’ because I used to comb his hair,” said one child. “Mom, did you also see that I also combed Daddy’s hair when he was in the coffin?”
“Where are his arms?” little Joshua wanted to know.
Absorbing everything, I pointed to the center of the mound, “About right here,”
“My rose is going by his feet, because I used to write on them with a pen,” quipped another.
When each child was satisfied that they had placed them at just the correct spot we sat around a little bonfire and roasted bologna rings, cheese chunks, and even experimented with toasting avocado cubes. The children were pleased to have juice boxes from their Great-grandparents in Ohio. Somehow it felt like there was like a blanket of peace over all of us.
“We will never have this meal again together, on this day,” Julia reflected. That’s almost sad.”
“Yes, I know what you mean, but then- tomorrow we will be one day closer to heaven.” I pointed out.
“True,” she said flashing a smile back.
Next the children each picked out a fruit cup and snack bag, all given by dear friends. True, nothing will be done to bring Daniel back, but love and support does make a difference!
Roasting marshmallows and eating s’mores finished off the meal.
Soon the children were growing more restless. We decided we’d read a story, so they gathered around me as I read the story about a lonely pony from a book that was gifted to Austin on the day of Daniel’s funeral. The children recalled how they too, had times when they were sad or lonely and how in the end, they came through.
There was one more thing I had on my mind that I wanted to do. When Daniel was a boy, Psalm 91 was one of the chapters he had memorized; shortly before he passed he expressed to me how he wants all his children to learn it by memory. Daniel and I would sometimes recite it together, now it was the latest piece the children were memorizing. Daddy’s masculine voice was missing as our voices blended, but the depth of the words remain strong as ever, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…”
The children were soon scattered over the field where they played hide and seek. I pulled a chair over to Hubby’s grave and soaked it all in. Death, shattered dreams, loneliness, giving it all back to God for the thousandth time, knowing all will be well because God is God, and yes, too blessed to tell.
Dusk was gathering, it was hard to tell the children it was time to leave.
Soon I was stepping into the living room and glanced at the clock. I debated. It was time to get ready for bed, but then, “Would it hurt to push bedtime out a bit so I could get in touch with my friends? Children you may play in the yard while I do my writing,” I instructed.
In a moment they were all over the yard playing tag and chasing fireflies while I get in touch with you all. Thanks once more for your support through these rugged times, and may our God of love sustain you in the moment.
GLORIA’S BROWNIE DELIGHT
· one box of fudge brownie mix
· 4 oz cream cheese, softened
· ¼ cup powdered sugar or any sweetener of your choice
· 1 8 ounce container whipped topping
· 1 quart pie filling of your choice
1. Bake brownie according to instructions on package.
2. Do not over bake. Put it in a 9 by 13 pan.
3. Mix cream cheese with sweetener. Then fold in whipped topping.
4. Spread on top of cooled baked brownies.
5. Next spread your favorite pie filling on top. Chill
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.