We live among the Amish. If you are basing your knowledge of the Amish on the movies you watch or the books you read, you might be surprised by reality. I love to see the beauty of their farms though. The shocks of corn in the fields at this time of year always makes me stop to take pictures.
We provide a service to the Amish and have done it for almost 13 years. We take them death notifications. If someone in their family, who lives far away, dies, they call us or have a neighbor call us and we take the information to the local family. They don’t like to see us pull into their driveway, but if we are on another type of errand, we are quick to let them know why we are there to put their minds at ease. Often the person has been very sick and they are expecting the news. Other times, it is an accident or something else very sudden and they are surprised. I have had to take several notices of small children passing away.
We are given the name of the person we are to deliver the message to. They give us the name and age of the person who has died. They always make sure they give us the name and age. In many Amish communities there are many people with the same name. I was talking to a local midwife one day and she said she had an appointment set up for someone. Because it was a common name, she asked for the husband’s first name. She had more than one couple with both names, so she asked what road they lived on. She actually had 2 couples with those same names on that road and had to ask the children’s names to get the right one. They also give us the area or address where the deceased lived. Then we are given the day of the funeral. Occasionally, one of them will give us some details to pass on to the family about the death itself.
As we have shared this over the years, many people ask me what their reactions are when we take the notice to them. They are very curious and most of the adults and older children will gather around and read over the shoulder of the one holding the note. I always wait to make sure that they understand all the writing and that I am in the right place. They usually tell me how they are related to the person and will also often ask me to take the notice to other family in the area who are also related. As far as their reaction, there really is not one. They rarely act sad. They might save that for when an outsider is not among them. In all the years we have been doing this, only once, did a woman come close to crying. Her eyes teared up and she had a trembly voice as she shared with me that it was her mother who had died.
They are always grateful to us for bringing the notice and often offer to pay us for our time and gas (which we decline).
I delivered a death notice this morning to the farm you see in the picture above. The sun was still low in the sky and the light was so golden. I had to stop and take pictures. I will share a few more with you below. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. Comments mean a lot to a blogger… hint hint!