Authors: Wanda E. Brunstetter
© 2011 by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Print ISBN 978-1-60260-683-8
Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-60742-540-3
Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-60742-541-0
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.
All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
All German-Dutch words are taken from the
Revised Pennsylvania German Dictionary
found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
For more information about Wanda E. Brunstetter, please access the author’s website at the following Internet address:
Cover design: Faceout Studio,
Cover photography: Steve Gardner, Pixelworks Studios
Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,
Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses
Printed in the United States of America.
To Irene Miller, one of my very special Amish friends.
[God] healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
lles is fix un faddich.”
Bishop Jacob Weaver clasped Samuel Fisher’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
Samuel, who stood on his front porch with a few others from his community, gripped the railing so tightly his fingers ached. The last few days, and even now, he’d felt as if he were walking through a thick fog, barely able to hear what anyone had said to him. Yet the truth of the bishop’s words—that all was completely done—slammed into Samuel with the force of a tornado. Overcome with emotion, he could barely manage a nod. They had just returned from the cemetery where they’d buried Elsie, his wife of ten years. He wasn’t sure how he’d made it through the last couple of days, much less the funeral and graveside service, but frankly, he was too tired and too numb to care. Somehow, he was now expected to carry on without her, and that thought was overwhelming.
Samuel’s mind hadn’t rested since that awful day when he’d found his wife at the foot of the stairs. Over and over he kept asking himself,
How do I go on? How can I survive without my Elsie?
With his feelings so raw, he couldn’t imagine where to begin. Constant thoughts and plaguing questions drained every bit of his energy.
Samuel realized he wasn’t the first person to go through something like this, but even knowing that, all he felt was despair. The misery was more than he could bear. Well, he couldn’t do it! The thought of caring for his and Elsie’s four children and going to work every day was too much to think about. But if he didn’t work, who would buy food and pay their bills?
And if he stayed home from work and wallowed in self-pity, he’d only be reminded of Elsie. Everywhere he looked, he would see her face: in the kitchen, where she’d prepared their meals; in the yard, where she’d worked among the flowers; in their bedroom, where she would take down her hair at night and allow him to brush her long, silky tresses as they discussed the day’s events and all their plans for the future—a future that would no longer include his beloved Elsie.
“I’ll let you visit with your family now, but please remember, you can call on me or any of the ministers in our church if you need anything. Oh, and no matter how sad you feel, take the time to read God’s Word and pray, because being alone with God is the only way you will find the strength to press on.” The elderly bishop, who’d been a friend of the family for a good many years, gave Samuel’s shoulder another firm squeeze and walked away, leaving Samuel to his disturbing thoughts.
Was it only last week that he and Elsie had discussed the approach of Thanksgiving and the huge meal they planned to have? They’d smiled and laughed as they’d reminisced about last year’s holiday with their children and several of Samuel’s family members sitting around the table. Elsie had commented on how she loved to watch the children’s eyes grow big as saucers when the mouth-watering turkey, almost overflowing the platter, had been set in the middle of the table. All the laughter and chatter while they’d enjoyed the holiday feast was a special time for them as a family. Abruptly, those holidays and everything else Samuel and Elsie had shared had come to a halt. How quickly things could change.
In an attempt to force his thoughts aside, Samuel stared into the yard. A cold wind had scattered the fallen leaves all about. The trees were bare and empty—just like Samuel’s heart. He knew that some men who’d been widowed married within the first year of their wife’s death, but Samuel was certain he would never marry again, for how could anyone fill the horrible void left by Elsie’s untimely death?
He caught sight of his children playing in the yard with some other children as though nothing had happened. Of course, the little ones didn’t understand that Elsie was never coming back, but he was sure eight-year-old Marla and six-year-old Leon did. So how could they frolic about as if they hadn’t just witnessed their mother’s coffin being lowered into the ground? Surely, they must miss her as much as Samuel did. Maybe the only way they could deal with it was to run and play, trying to block it all out. Samuel wished he could find a way to block out the pain.
He looked away and sank into a nearby chair with a groan
. Nothing will ever be the same. I’ll never be able to laugh with the children again. No more catching flies for their entertainment. No more walks in the woods, holding Elsie’s hand. No more anything that used to be fun
Samuel closed his eyes, and a vision of Elsie’s twisted body lying at the bottom of the stairs came uninvited into his head. Would he ever be able to get that image out of his mind? Would he ever know peace again?
Marla and Leon had seen their mother fall that day, and when Samuel rushed into the house after hearing their screams, he’d found them close to her body, sobbing and pleading with her to open her eyes. The two youngest children—four-year-old Penny and two-year-old Jared—he’d discovered in the kitchen, hiding behind the stove. Even before the paramedics arrived, Samuel had known Elsie was dead. He’d found no pulse, and she wasn’t breathing. Later, Samuel learned that Elsie had suffered a broken neck from the fall, as well as severe internal injuries. Their unborn baby, still underdeveloped in his mother’s womb, had also perished.
“Samuel, you shouldn’t be sitting out here in the cold by yourself.”
Samuel’s eyes snapped open. When he looked up and saw his older sister, Naomi, looking down at him with concern, he mumbled, “Didn’t realize I was alone, and I’m too numb to feel the cold.”
Naomi seated herself in the chair beside him. “I feel your pain, Samuel. I truly do.”
Samuel stared straight ahead. “How can you feel my pain? Your husband’s still alive, and you’ve never lost a child—not even one who wasn’t fully formed.”
“I realize that, but I hurt with you, and I want to help ease your pain.”
“There’s nothing you can do.”
She reached for his hand and gave his fingers a gentle squeeze. He could see the depth of Naomi’s concern in her ebony-colored eyes. “God loves you, Samuel, and so do I.”
“If God loves me, He wouldn’t have taken Elsie away from me and the
,” Samuel whispered, as the bitter taste of bile rose in his throat.
“Zach was unfairly taken from our family when he was a
, but it didn’t mean God no longer loved us.”
“That was different. Zach didn’t die; he was kidnapped.” Samuel pointed to the front door, where Zach and the rest of their family had gathered inside after the funeral dinner. “Zach came back to us. Elsie’s gone from this earth forever.”
“Her body’s gone, but she was a Christian in every sense of the word, and I’m certain that her spirit lives on in heaven,” Naomi said softly. “Someday you’ll see her again.”
could be a long time from now.” Samuel swallowed hard, fighting to keep his emotions under control. “I wish it had been me who’d died. Why didn’t God take me instead of Elsie?”