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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