BY GLORIA YODER
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 okay? What happened? Is he gonna die?”
There were no answers. In a mad scramble, everyone jerked on jackets and slipped into boots. My futile efforts of showing comfort proved unsuccessful. Children wait, we’re going to pray before we head to the woods. Standing in a circle, we had a brief prayer as we lifted our voices to the Lord.
We dashed outside, the children to stay by Grandpa on the edge of the woods while I dashed through the briers separating me from my beloved Daniel. I circled around the paramedics and rushed to his head where I spent several treasured moments at his side. Though he didn’t respond at that point, I knew he could tell I was there.
Not knowing if these would be my last moments, I didn’t give much attention to those around me until I caught the words, “If no one’s praying, they’d better start.”
My being groaned. I kept praying and assuring my most beloved Daniel. Soon they carried him to the pickup waiting by the edge of the woods. I walked along, supporting his head.
Next he was taken to the driveway to the waiting ambulance.
I sprinted to the house, meeting our six little children who were now back inside, overflowing with questions. I told them that 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 IN. Tears and more tears followed. “Mom, we want you with us!!”
My heart rent in two. I’m a mom, but I’m also a wife.
I tried assuring them they’ll be okay, and made quick plans of having them meet me on route 1 where we’ll all head to Evansville together to see Daddy.
It was a deal. Off we went. Strapped to a seat next to Daniel, those in charge told me to keep talking to him. His attempts were genuine, but extremely weak. I noticed the urgency as they desperately tried to get IVs started. No success. His large masculine veins were now running all too low. Finally they managed to get one in.
With sirens whistling, we made our way through Robinson. I kept talking, singing, praying, and assuring him,
By now he was responding more and feebly telling 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 way of me going with Daniel.
Leaving the helicopter and telling him bye, I walked down the sidewalk a little ways, then turned and watched at the helicopter as the propellers picked up speed, then gently lifted from the ground, turned south, heading off with greatest prize I ever knew or loved. Feelings ran too deep for words, and even too deep for tears. I felt an arm slip around my back. It was my brother who had come to show his support. Silently we watched and prayed; I released Daniel to God.
Soon we were heading towards where my parents, a dear friend Judith, Owen, and the children were waiting for us.
“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 said, You know, there are angels around that helicopter.” I knew God was with him, and His ways always work.
Now as we launched into our 1 ½ 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.
Finally we were there, “This is the big hospital where Daddy is,“ I explained to the children. Now I’ll go in to see Daddy while you all go get something for lunch.”
Inside, I slipped on my mask and stepped over to the desk and introduced myself. Her response troubled me more than I dared to admit. “You may be seated while you wait on the Chaplin.”
“Chaplin?” We inquired farther, telling them that I really would like to see him ASAP.
She kindly but firmly informed us that they are not able yo let anyone go back as his room is filled with people working on him, as it was ever since his arrival.
Going to a little quiet room off to the side, I dropped to my knees. “Surely not, surely not Lord.”
In the next report we were told that his heart had stopped along the way during his flight. CPR had kept him alive. Next in line was surgery to see where the excessive bleeding could be coming from.
An hour later he was in surgery. In the meanwhile my dearest parents and I talked, prayed, and as hard as it was, we even discussed life and death. We tried to eat. Then 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?
Minutes ticked into hours, finally we were told he’s out of surgery and in intensive care. Somewhat relieved, we waited for the doctor to come with his report. When he came in, he was kind, but to the point. His words still echo in my mind. By the time he finished I was following him to my husband’s side who had very slight chance of survival due to his blood loss, and the doctors not able to find where it was actually coming form.
As I spoke to Daniel, he opened his eyes a tiny bit. He could hear me! I did not know how long I would have this opportunity, but I did have this moment, so I showered all the love I had.
At one point I said, “If you want me to tell the children you love them, 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. Tears came to his eyes. How I ached for him. What would it be like to feel so helpless and see your precious family needing to let go of their most loved and adored daddy?
There was something else I just had to tell him, “Daniel, the guys at home checked out exactly what you were doing while logging, and they said it’s not your fault that you got hurt. You did all you could.” Here his pain-filled eyes opened as wide as he could, I knew he heard; still I repeated it once more, to ensure that he does not blame himself in any way. I assured him that God’s ways are always best, and that he will care for all of us.
Then there was the excruciating pain he was dealing with. My heart tore in two as I watched pain rack his being. He could only have a minimal amount of pain killers as it took his blood pressure dangerously far down. I tried to soothe him and tell him how good he was doing, I sang his songs, recited his favorite verses, and assured him of my love over and over. After an hour or so, I had to leave the room, for him to go for another exploratory surgery.
As we walked down the hallway, I had no sense of direction as my parents led the way to the quiet room. I collapsed into a couch. My physical strength was gone, my mental capacity was filled, and without a miracle, I would be a widow in a matter of hours.
There was no easy way out. Our children who had eaten lunch, spent time at a nearby park, and were now ready to see Mom. We needed to get a plan for the night ahead of us. God gave strength for the moment.
We met the children outside the hospital entrance.
“Mom, will Daddy be okay? Will Daddy die?” The questions all toppled over each other. I hugged them, as we cried, “I don’t know,” I answered honestly. The doctors say they do not know, but I think it’ll be alright, God will always take care of us.” We all huddled together on a park bench in front of the vast building. “Which room is daddy in, is it that one? When can we see him? I want my Daddy. I don’t want him to die...”
There was not a thing for me to do, but to just keep going, keep loving, and keep pointing them to the love of Jesus. After a bit we all went inside and watched fish in a giant aquarium. Plans were made to have the oldest five go back home and sleep at Grandpas with two of their aunts while one-year-old Joshua stays with me and my parents.
Moments after I walked into the quiet room, the doctor came in. Though I hardly spoke a word, the emotions that swept through my being at this point were real and they were intense. Once more he was to the point, telling us he is very sorry, but that Daniel is not going to make it.
Swiftly we made our way to his room. As we did so, a song echoed in my mind, “God has sent me here to tell you there is hope...” I knew that there is always hope if we surrender all to God, even though things are drastically not how we want them to be.
Stepping into his room, I made a mere dash for his side and told him I’m here with him. He heard! Once more he opened his eyes as I poured out all the love I ever had, for the one and only love of my life. As I spoke to him about our children and of my commitment to raise them just as he taught me to, tears once more welled up in his eyes. He knew. I knew. I told him that it’s okay for him to go to be with Jesus, that we will all be alright, God will take care of us (like Daniel used to say he would). There were more tears as I wiped them from his eyes. One-sided conversations, too precious to tell, followed as I wiped more of his tears.
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; he had always loved and honored his parents, and here he was demonstrating it to the last moments.
I will never forget those last precious breaths, as he slipped on into eternity. Thanks to the doctors and nurses, who gave it all they had, including the 100 plus units of blood they gave him, they now gave us space as we mourned together and rejoiced over the wonder of Daniel being where he always dreamed of going where he will never have any heartaches or trial whatsoever.
There was pain, there was grief beyond description, then from deep within there was a sort of unexplainable peace, deeper than it all.
On the way home I sat next to Joshua on the van seat, I snuggled up with a blanket and prayed. I began realizing how many, many things led up to this, and how God had been preparing my heart. The words Daniel spoke on several occasions rang in my ears, “If I’d ever die, God would absolutely take care of you!”
I knew it must be true. For now, we’ll take only a moment at a time.
cheryl l gipson
God is with you Gloria. I am so sorry for your loss. You are a strong woman.
So sorry for the family's loss.
Dear Mrs. Yoder,
I'm so very saddened to learn of the loss of your husband. What a sterling and brave man he was. This is a great loss to your family and community. I'm so sorry. May God bless and keep you as your husband said He would.
So sorry for your loss. God will definitely look out for you.
Gloria, your strength and love are an inspiration- thank you for sharing your faith snd love with us My prayers are with you snd your family as you navigate your future with Daniel in your hearts.
Gloria, thank you so much for sharing that with us. I am so sorry for your loss.
Daniel is with God now and they both are looking after you and the children. You are all strong and with your faith, you will overcome this. The Lord has big plans for you and the children. He never gives more than one can handle.
Mary Ann Hemker
I would like to send you my condolences for the loss of Daniel. My heart goes out to you and your children. I pray that the Lord will give you peace. May your memories comfort you and your family.
MY HEART AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY, AS THEY ADJUST AND TRY TO FOLLOW GODS' PLAN TO MOVE FORWARD WITHOUT THE ONE THEY ALL LOVED/LOVE SO MUCH. I AM A RECENT WIDOW MYSELF, AND KNOW THAT GRIEF. WHAT GIVES US GUIDENCE AND STRENGTH IS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. HE WILL NOT LEAVE OR FORSAKE YOU EVER.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Thanks Gloria for your beautiful article. You and your family will remain in our prayers. It is so good to see your strong faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. He definitely will take care of you.
My heart goes out to you and your family
Anna Mae Sours
My heart aches for Gloria her children and family. To lose your special love is tragic in it's self. But through an accident makes it extra heartbreaking. I lost my dear husband in 2018 in a farm shop fire gete on our farm. He was badly burned 65-75% of his body. He was airlifted to Washington MedStar Hospital. He lived for a month going through amputations and skin grafts. In the end he got an infection and there was nothing they could do. I weep with and for Gloria. God knows best and He always has His reason. He will continue to get us through.
Gloria, I am not Amish, but have been receiving your wonderful recipes for quite some time now. I want you to know that I am so truly sorry for your loss. While my heart was breaking and tears flowing from my eyes while reading this, you brought hope and peace into my heart. I have been experiencing an unbelievable amount of personal heartbreak myself over the past couple of years. I had to undergo a bi-lateral mastectomy in November 2020 due to breast cancer (a 3-time cancer survivor) and still trying to deal with all of the issues from that surgery. I have not experienced separation from any family members because of physical death recently, but separation from them because of their cruel words and actions. In some ways, perhaps, that separation and the loneliness it creates can be just as painful. The loss is tremendous for me because I have always loved and supported them in so many ways over the years and still do love them and would support them to the end. My dear, sweet husband, Joe, of 42 years has always stood by my side. I can only imagine how lost I would be without him. I am so thankful to God for him and for my son who continue to stand by my side and who I do know still love me. But, this is not about me. This is about you and that is what is important to me at the moment. Like I mentioned in the beginning of my comment, through you, I have been given hope in knowing that God is always taking care of us and never leaves us no matter what happens. I have been praying diligently lately that God would just take me "home" to be with him, but still trying so desperately to hold on. I just want to thank you for sharing this and showing me there is still hope. I will be praying for you, your children and your entire family.
Kelly S Vogt
Gloria, I cannot for one second imagine the pain you are going through. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, I hope your writing can help to bring you peace.
Kelly Vogt, Idaho
To Gloria and family, my heart aches for you. May your deep faith in God sustain you thru this terrible ordeal, and May your beloved Daniel rest in peace.
Please know that all of our hearts are breaking. You are in our hearts and prayers. Much LOVE to you all.
Poor sweet Gloria. I pray for her and her 6 children every day.
Oh I cried as I read this. I'm so glad Gloria and her family are safe & secure in the arms of our Lord Jesus. Daniel gave them the best gift ever, his love & assurance that the Lord would take care of them . My prayers are with them all as they walk through this terrible time of mourning and I believe they will find joy in knowing they will all be together again.
This is such a sad but beautiful story. The love you feel between Daniel and Gloria could be felt in every word. May Gloria and her children always feel the love of Daniel and God.
My heart goes out to you. I lost my husband at 48. Been a widow for 17 years as he was the one. Never got to say good bye. He died in his sleep. God was good to him.
May you find peace!
My heart aches for this wonderful family. My prayers will always be with Gloria and her family, as well as for Daniel's parents and siblings. My tears join theirs. God will take care of them and hold them close to Him.
Dear Gloria and family,I read your story last nite a beautiful love story,I loved reading your stories about you,Daniel,the kids just brightens the day and the recipes also!!Our families from Northeast Pa.send much love,thoughts,prayers your way,our deepest condolences on the passing of Daniel🙏😌💜
My condolences Gloria to you and your children. Know that Jesus is carrying you in the palm of His mighty hand as you go through this difficult time.
I read your column in my local paper, you are an amazing woman. I know Daniel was an amazing man. My heart is broken. I pray for you and your children. You have amazing people around you to help. But none like a husband and father. One day we will understand but for now we wait to see our loved ones again. 🙏🏻❤️
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Oh how difficult the parting must be. However, the glory that your loved one is experiencing is beyond our comprehension. I wish you all the Lords richest blessings and comfort.
Anna Marie Nissley
God bless and hold you close as only a loving Father God can. I will pray for your children too. My heart goes out to them especially, having lost my daddy at the age of 7 in an accident. There were 7 of us, all very young. I hope your financial needs are cared for so you can give your time and emotional energy to their young lives. Much love!!
Dear Gloria, I am SO SO sorry for your loss!! I just can't imagine the pain you're experiencing! I send you thoughts of love and peace. God bless you and your children.
-Gretchen from Northeast Pennsylvania 💚🌿💚