Gloria Yoder Recounts “Firsts” Without Husband Daniel

In a new column by Amish Cook columnist Gloria Yoder, she recalls some painful “firsts” she has lately gone through without her husband Daniel, who died tragically in a logging accident in April. I found this column particularly moving…for anyone who has lost a close loved one you’ll probably recognize the sentiment here. An excerpt:

Those who have bid farewell to life on earth with your partner know the hundreds of little “firsts” you bump into randomly throughout your days. It has been 4 1/2 months since Daniel went to heaven, so I cannot speak out of the experience beyond that.

So many things I had never imagined were happening to me. Some are minor; some are stark, and others are flat-out grueling. I’ll never forget that first magazine that came with Daniel’s name on it, but they’re no Daniel to read it. In my heart, I knew he had much better things. Yet, it still hurts every time I get rid of Busy Beaver magazines (an Amish/Mennonite advertising paper) and haven’t watched Daniel sit down and flip through it, remarking how people do all sorts of things to make money.

Daniel’s birthday is coming up on Sunday. We will miss not making his apricot pie and watching him eat it with homemade vanilla ice cream. The last time I had made some for him, Julia asked why he was so quiet while eating it. Smiling, I told her, “He’s enjoying it too much to talk.” His grin proved my answer to be accurate.

With school starting, the men from our church go in three mornings a week to have devotions with the teachers and children. I loved going with Daniel as I soaked in the thrill of watching him teach these innocent little hearts more about Jesus. Now what? I have no answers. Yes, I can go with other couples to church, but nothing will ever compare to my Daniel. I know God will bring blessings more remarkable than heartache, though I can’t wrap my aching brain around it right now.

Gloria Yoder with Daniel and children

She also recounts an act of kindness in Wal-Mart:

An hour and a half later, we made our way to the checkout counter, where I met a non-Amish lady who comes to our fall widow’s suppers. I stepped over to her and told her about my husband’s passing. We had a friendly little chat and were both on our way. As the children helped me pile our items on the conveyor belt, I started wondering if I was wise even to come to Walmart in the first place. “If I hadn’t come, I hadn’t spent this money,” I mulled, but then I don’t want to go down that path of reasoning things out again.

Soon after the final item was scanned, the cashier told me she needed to come to the other side. I shuffled my oversized cart to the side as she stepped over and swiped another card. “This is strange,” I mused. Returning, she said, “That lady over there in the blue shirt just paid your bill.”

I blinked. Could it be true? (I cry as I now think about it all again.)

It was the dear widow lady I had met minutes before. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart and asked God to bless her.

Read the column in full here. If you’d like to send Gloria a card, that info is here.

And as she does in every column, Gloria also includes a recipe for a dish – this one with a peculiar-sounding name: Underground Ham Casserole. Going by the ingredients list, it sounds delicious.

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    1. Charlene

      I’m so sorry for your loss Gloria. You can still make Daniel’s favorite apricot pie and your family can sing happy birthday still. My son and I do it every year since my husband passed 3 years ago. My dad passed last year. His birthday was 2 days ago and we had a cake and sang happy birthday. I believe that our lost loved ones can hear us. I sympathize with you because I know what you’re going through. You and your family are in my prayers. My condolences and deepest sympathies. May Daniel RIP

    2. Lynn

      I lost my husband suddenly last Nov 2021


      When I read this my heart broke again. I, too lost the love of my life and my best friend. My husband, Douglas. He was only 54 yrs old. His life ending on this earth was unexpected and I still cry every day. I know that he is with the Lord and he is happier than we can ever imagine. But I am still here on this earth and my heart aches every minute of every day. I can relate to your story and I just wanted to say that we will be with our husbands again one day. In the meantime we must trust God’s plans for our lives and the lives of our children. But I know you already know that. My husband use to always say to me and to our children (now grown) “Pray, believe, and keep your eyes on Jesus!” I can still hear his voice saying that to me today. It brings me great comfort. May God bless you and your children in all things!

    3. Cheryl Mellblom

      Gloria, I lost my 72 year old brother and only brother four months ago, and I have some understanding of your loss. Please know that I light a prayer candle almost daily and Douglas, you and all he loved are in the candle which whenever I pass by it I say a silent prayer for all who are in it. I cannot imagine what you are going through,but please know that God and many earthly people wish you well on this horrible rocky road. One thing I do know is that you two were fortunate to have found each other and had the time together although it was much too short. With blessings and love, Cheryl from Grand Rapids

    4. Neva patterson

      Pirayers for Gloria Yoder

      Gloria I am so sorry for your loss. I visit the Amish Country a lot. I love it and enjoy my visits every time. I have made friends in the Amish Country. I live in Parkersburg West Virginia and have some Amish friends here. I grew up basically like the Amish live had a wonderful life. Throughout my life I lost my mother at a young age, I’ve lost siblings and a child. It is not easy to let go of our loved ones. I know our relationship is different with each and every one of our family members. I’ve never lost a spouse and I I’m sure it is a difficult time for you and your family. I am sending prayers for you and your family. Thank the Lord there is still a lot of good people in this world that help others. Take care your new friend Neva