11/26/2012

Amish Funeral

The reason I'm writing this blog is because of all the interests I had from the Amish wedding blog that I wrote this summer. Allot times the people that write about thee Amish events are people that have not lived it. Unlike the wedding one this one will be without many pictures. So I'm going to attempt to create pictures in your head how the Amish funerals are.
This past week my grandpa(my Dads Dad) died of old age at 89 years old. He was a farmer and a furniture maker. I have a jewelry box he made. I treasure it. My guess is it was made for sewing box.
He died on a Tuesday afternoon. When I got the call from my uncle I delivered the news to my parents that live next door. They rushed down to see him before the undertaker took him. Yes they do use a undertaker and go through the same process that others do. They just have the calling hours and funeral at their residents.
 
Wednesday and Thursday the neighbors came and prepared the home with cleaning it and making food for the family. Lunch and dinner was served to family in love both of those days. The calling hours were all day long on both days.
 
We took our children to the calling hours on Wednesday evening. It was in a shop at their residents. We viewed my grandpa. He looked very nature and peaceful. Next you filed through to shake every ones hands. There was family,cousins,friends and what seemed like a endless task but enjoyed the feel of tight,soft,hard,wimpy,heart felt hand shakes. Some people made eye contact where others never looked up. One thing with Amish they don't hug much its just the presence and comfort you show in your eyes that is felt.
 
On Friday the day of the funeral it was a rainy morning. It felt like a different kind of black Friday as I got dressed in my black cloth and prepared for the day. My Dad said to be there by 7:30 am. So we could sit with the other cousins.
Took this picture as we followed a row of buggies in the long lane. It was a deary rainy day.
 
The funeral was also held in the shop. As we walked in the heads lifted and a Amish man came to tell us where to sit. Soon I spotted my other 2 sisters and my parents. My brother and his wife had walked in with us. There were only 4 of us kids. Which is a small family in the Amish.
 
The first thing I noticed is it was very warm ok I mean hot and about no oxygen left in room. Then we sat in silence for 30 minutes. It seemed like 3 hours. My eyes seemed like a magnet to the clock. There were whispers of people carrying on conversations. As I looked around the room to try and remember all my cousins names I admired the cute kids they all have.  Everyone was dressed in black. Soon they filed everyone past the casket. Then he closed the lids to casket for the service. The Amish man that makes the casket is in charge of taking care of that and many other things the day of the funeral.
 And at 9 o'clock on the dot a preacher got up and preached in high German mixed in with dutch too. The first one preacher for a hour then he read from the bible then the bishop from my grandpas church got up and read off a sheet of paper that said how long my Grandpa was married and how many kids he had and all the information of his life.
Here are a couple things I have information on:
He had 1 wife
He had 9 children
40 grandchildren
106 great grandchildren
2 great great grandchildren
many step grandchildren
The preacher also had us kneel in prayer that ended in the Lords prayer in German. Which I could recite in memory of learning it when I was a child.
Then they all stood and they read the bible again. As we all sat back down they all started filing past the now open again casket. The family filed though last. With the siblings of the deceased gathering around the casket in mourning. It was such an emotional moment to see them all grieving and probably the last time that they will ever get to see their Dad since they don't have any pictures,and only what they remember him from in their memories. Then the guy in charge closed the lids and put the screws in as the the family gathered in sorrow.
Next the women got there bonnets and shawls and the men their hats and went to get in there buggies as they followed the hack(buggy with a truck bed) that has the casket on it.
They take a chalk and number the buggies on the way their are sopposed to line up with the family going first.
 
 
I didn't take this picture but this gives you an idea how the caravan of buggies look as they
Make their way to the grave that is usually up of a big hill with fence around it.
It was within a mile of the resident so people also walked.
The horses are tied to the fence that surround the grave. As they slowly drop the casket into the grave with ropes and start to shovel dirt on top they start to sing how beautiful heaven must be in German or similar songs that are only sang at grave side services.
 
Next they all go back to the home to have dinner together. Traditionally they serve  ham and cheese sandwiches,Amish noodles,fruit and cake and coffee.
 
I'm sure I left some things out or maybe add things that you might not be interested in. But all in all I have a great respect on how I was raised and how strong thee Amish faith is and was excited to hear through the sermon that they still serve the same God I do. Also have a great respect for how they don't whine about sitting on those hard benches for hours. Hope you never have to experience a Amish funeral but if you do you will now know what to expect.
 
 

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