The blessings in grief


By Dorcas Raber

This week’s column comes from Gloria Yoder’s sister, Dorcas Raber.

“Time goes on – mercifully, time goes on, and we stand amazed. God – we don’t know all the in’s and out’s, we don’t understand all the why’s. But we know You are God. You are good, and You will sustain Gloria & her children. Even when our hearts ache and are fill of tears… even when at times it seems brutal – yet deep down, we know that, we know, that God is good.”

The above was my journal entry from this week, and yes, God has been our lifeline through this difficulty journey. Along with that, Gloria and her little flock, and we, have been blessed with an outpouring of love and prayers. On her behalf (it means so much to me, too!), here’s a big thank you and blessings to you, for the hundreds of cards, monetary gifts, other gifts, and for all the love and care. It’s been so heartwarming, so much like a cozy blanket, cushioning the grief of Daniel’s sudden passing in April.

On Wednesday, my husband, David, and I were blessed to be at Julia and Austin’s school program. The scholars had all been homeschooled, yet one of the Church couples organized a program and got together with the children to practice. Plus, each family with scholars was responsible to find a poem, and memorize it. It was a touching program, with a theme on “Hope.” Bravely, (and ever so clearly), Julia and Austin recited their poem together…

In one corner of the room, was a special place, in memory of Daniel, with flowers, candles, and a wall motto. My mother heart ached when I saw Gloria sitting in the crowd with her little ones, and no Daniel by her side. Yet deep down, I knew that she is “okay” – she has the Lord as her ever present refuge. She is “okay” even though she is going through a valley of grief such as she has never, ever, faced before. Every way she turns, there are Daniel memories because he was such a vital part of her life and the children’s lives. She has chosen to face it squarely and desires that her children do, too, rather than trying to run from it. She talks about Daddy, again and again, to them, from 10 year old Julia, to almost 2 year old Joshua. But then there are also times that she needs space for herself, to process, to grieve, to meditate, to pray.

Coming back to the program, after the last poem was recited and the last song was sung, it was lunchtime. The children are always so relieved to have the program past! Why, Julia told me she was so nervous when she and Austin recited their poem that she couldn’t hear her own voice!

Lunch was scrumptious – haystacks, and a variety of frozen desserts. After lunch, the scholars in fifth to eighth grade, the youth, and the young at heart played softball.

In another smaller ball diamond, a most unique game was being played. The first to fourth grades played ball against their moms. They used a bigger, softer ball. There really was no reason to count strikes for the younger children, or to keep score. It was simply a time of fun and run!

A wide variety of finger foods, and even some meatballs, graced the snack table. It was a good day, in spite of the fresh reminder that someone who had always been there, was missing. Missing from our presence, yet we have the glad assurance that Daniel is very much alive in the Presence of God.

I’ll share a recipe of one of the frozen desserts served at the school program. You will love it!

Frozen Mocha Cheesecake


1 1/4 cups crushed, Oreo cookies

1/4 cup butter, melted


2 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

¼ c. chocolate syrup

2 teaspoons instant coffee

1 tablespoon hot water

16 ounces Cool Whip

Crust: Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Reserve 3/4 cup crumbs for top. Press in bottom of 9-inch by 13-inch pan.

Beat cream cheese, condensed milk and chocolate syrup until smooth.

Dissolve coffee in hot water and add to cream cheese mixture.

Fold in Cool Whip.

Pour over crust and sprinkle with remaining crumbs.

Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

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

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