LV made arrangements for my brothers to come take care of all our chores while we were gone. I packed our suitcase and by the time our driver came we were ready to leave.
The long ride to their little community seemed even longer than it had earlier that summer when we had gone to visit them.
Arriving at their house we got out of the minivan and went into the house. The yard was full of tractors and funny little trailers that they used for transportation during the week instead of horse and buggies. Inside the house women were hurrying around, busy with all the food preparations that needed to done for the funeral.
We went into the room where Vernon and Fannie were sitting next to a tiny casket. They both looked subdued but peaceful. I wished I knew what to say but felt all choked up. Baby Leona (a Downs Syndrome child) looked so peaceful dressed in all white and wrapped in a blanket. Blinking back tears I followed LV to find a seat with the rest of the family.
It was time to eat before long and afterwards all of LV's siblings gathered at his parents house to spend the night. The next morning we headed back to Vernon's for the funeral.
The men from the church had set up benches in Vernon's woodworking shop. Once everyone had found a seat one of the ministers got up to preach a short sermon. Once he was done the bishop got up and started rambling, something about rainbows. I couldn't make heads or tails out of what he was trying to say, but then I wasn't used to his style of preaching. I hoped that Vernon and Fannie could find some comfort in his message.
Once everyone had filed past the casket one last time only Vernon and Fannie remained standing next to it with their two little children. LV's Mom got up to stand next to them and then his Dad. Fannie's parents joined them as well. I was so glad to see them with someone who cared instead of having to stand there alone like most Amish funerals. That LV's Mom had taken that initiative made me feel like going to give her a hug.
Once the cover was placed on the casket everyone went outside to go on the long bumpy buggy ride to the graveyard. LV and I rode with his parents in their little top buggy. It was quite crowded but that was fine.
At the graveyard everything went like usual, once the dirt was all piled up in a mound on the new grave and people were turning to leave one of the drivers made his way through the crowd with a single wild flower he had found and laid it on top of the mound. I thought it was such a sweet gesture. We left to go back to the house for the meal the women had prepared. Getting into the buggy I looked across the graveyard one last time. A cold breeze swept across the field and the mound of fresh dirt but the flower remained in place as if it were saying that everything would be okay.