Saturday, July 16, 2011

Learning to Grieve the Amish Way

Writing words help me heal, so I’m writing today.   My Uncle Jim passed away yesterday. I’ll always remember him as that handsome man that looked like a Ken Doll. My aunt was his brown haired Barbie.  He wore Boss Cologne and I loved giving him a hug because he smelled good. A chiropractor by day and a good husband and father by night.
I didn’t know what to do when I got word of his death. A family member told me my aunt needed time alone with her immediate family to make plans. Numbly I went to see the new Winnie the Pooh movie with my husband and daughter.  I kept thinking, I need to be with my aunt. I want to be with my aunt. Then I thought of how the Amish grieve, and became clear to me what to do.
 We went and sat with my aunt while she reminisced about her high school sweetheart. How sad she was that two of her daughter and now her husband are gone. We didn’t say much. Just hugged and listened.  I was told today our visit helped so much. This is the Amish way, and they learned it from Jesus. Jesus wept with those who wept. He took time to be with people.
When someone in the Amish community dies, they come and sit with the person, much like Job’s friends in the Bible. They came and sat for seven days and didn’t speak. It comforted Job to know they were there. The presence of someone next to you that loves you has great healing power.
The Amish don’t have drive through grief either. They take their time. They have suffered a great loss. The immediate family wears black for a year and they make sure the widow isn’t alone. The community schedules weekly visitors who bring food. A notice will be put in the Die Botschaft, a national Amish newspaper. Cards are sent from across the country from complete strangers. 
Time and thought given to someone shows love, and love, in time, brings healing. Below is a picture of my Uncle Jim and my Aunt Virginia. I will miss this gentle man...Please pray for my aunt....

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