Authors: Hannah Schrock
She wanted to see Isaac grow into a young man, to take over
barn and start a family of his own. She wanted to be there on Ruth’s wedding day, baking a large feast and then dancing on her old feet for her
Most of all she wanted to see her new
and see Jeramiah in its tiny face, to see the love Jeramiah had once had for her pouring from her
eyes. She willed herself to sit up, clutching the edge of the cot for support. She pulled her feet out of bed with an effort and trudged on unsteady feet to the children’s room.
She bent over their tiny heads, their curls like unruly mops. She watched them for a while, then kissed their slumbering faces and left. She couldn’t let them find her in the cot. If she was going to die, she would do it in the only place she felt a deep connection with departed souls of loved ones.
Sarah was drenched to the bone the minute she stepped out of the backdoor. Her hair was matted to her forehead and her body shivered against the cold. Her unsteady, emaciated legs stumbled and she went sprawling in the mud. She lay like that for a few minutes, giving up but then a severe kick made her pull herself up again and make her agonizing way to the barn.
Eli’s barn. Eli had been a very important part of their lives. Kind and generous, he had always been a good listener and Sarah had felt he was one of her greatest friends. Now, she felt keenly that Eli was watching over her, like he did so often with Emma, that Eli knew her time was close and
had sent him to guide her across the great unknown.
The animals were huddled in their pens and looked at her with terrified eyes. The storm outside was raging and they were hoping for comfort from the only human face in their midst. Gritting her teeth against a stronger wave of pain, Sarah fell on her knees and knelt in the hay as if she were on her knees, praying.
She lay like that for hours, dozing off a little between spasms of pain that brought her back to consciousness. The storm was abating a little and Sarah heard someone crying her name. She looked towards the barn door that she had left ajar.
“Sarah!” Emma’s shrill voice ran through the night. “Sarah!” it came closer and then Emma was there, a lantern in her hand, her eyes wild with fear, her face and nightgown soaked as well. “Sarah, what happened? You scared me! What are you doing in here?”
,” Sarah moaned, clutching her belly. Sarah knew something was wrong. This was unlike her previous births, the
relentless kicks made her feel her child was drowning in the womb. This had never happened before.
coming?” Emma looked horrified. “I’ll call Jarron. We must take you to the
“There is no time,” Sarah moaned. “
, Emma! He’s coming right now,” Sarah stood up on her shaky feet and the warm gush on her legs told her that her water had broken. Emma was looking at her with horror. Sarah was puzzled by her reaction. Emma had been there when Ruth had been born. She had seen the water break.
“You’re bleeding Sarah,” Emma blubbered.
And Sarah saw that it was so. Her legs and the floor were covered in bright red blood and it kept on gushing out of her. Sarah felt faint at the sight of it. She held a wooden beam to steady herself and Emma rushed forward to help her. The lantern cast eerie shadows around the barn.
“I’m not going to make it,” Sarah’s breathing was shallow. “You’re going to have to cut him out of me.
, sweet Emma I would not ask this of you if it weren’t necessary.”
“I can’t,” Emma wailed, bending over Sarah’s writhing body. “Sarah, please! Let me call Jarron. We’ll take you to the hospital!”
Sarah’s screams filled the air. Emma held her sister’s clammy cold hands as the contraction ripped through her. “Sarah, stay with me!” Emma pleaded, her sobs falling on deaf ears, her tears falling on a face that had gone deathly white. “Sarah! Don’t leave us!”
Sarah’s grip on Emma’s hand and life itself slackened, her body relaxed and her eyes rolled back in their sockets. A
cries pierced the night.
It had stopped snowing late last night. All sound had been snuffed out and the world shone bright in the sunlight. Martha felt like she was floating in a dream. The winter roses that rested in her hair were fragrant and looked particularly stunning against her dark hair.
Five months pregnant and glowing like a lantern in a stormy night, Emma fussed about Martha, fixing a loose strand of hair here, adding a tweak to her dress there. She finally tied the
and stood back to look at the effect.
and Emma had tears in their eyes.
“You make a beautiful bride,” Emma managed to say.
“If only Sarah were here,”
,” Emma soothed but the sudden wails of a
got her attention. She leaned over the small crib and picked up the
, pink cheeked and mewling. “I think Jeramiah needs a nappy change,” Emma cooed. “
, could you?”
Martha knew Emma had asked
to take care of Jeramiah because it diverted her thoughts away from Sarah towards more pleasant things. Like Martha’s wedding to Jacob Lapp.
Jacob had done more than follow through with his promise. He had purchased the house and barn and he had persuaded his family, with the help of Bishop Amos, to trust in
will and to exercise forgiveness and kindness.
had been stunned when Mr. and Mrs. Lapp had arrived at their home to personally apologize for the pain they must have caused them by involving Aunt Lizzie and demanding the ridiculous thing they had demanded of Martha.
Martha and Jacob had resumed their courtship soon after and now on Second Christmas day they were going to be married in Eli’s barn. Eli’s barn, which held so many memories for Martha. She had taken refuge in it when she had returned to the community, too afraid and guilt ridden to face anyone so she had starved for weeks before Jarron and Emma had found her.
“Can you believe it,” Emma said, “a year ago none of us were this happy.”
“I certainly wasn’t,” Martha agreed. “And Sarah had just gotten the blow.”
“The Bontrager’s have come a long way since then,” Emma nodded. “Me with child, you getting married, and Sarah…”
“And Sarah finally agreeing to treatment,” Martha grinned. “If you hadn’t taken her to the hospital on time we might have lost her Emma.”
A shadow crossed Emma’s face at the memory of that horrible night, how she had clutched a newborn Jeramiah, slippery with blood and birth, and ran all the way to the house, screaming for Jarron to get the buggy.
It was lucky that Jarron had found her missing from bed ten minutes ago and hitched the buggy in readiness.
Martha,” Ruth came running in, her bouquet of flowers clutched in her tiny hands. “
says to hurry up. He says
Jacob will leave without you if you are late.”
“He wouldn’t dare,” Martha giggled and followed Emma and Ruth out the door to the wagon where Jarron waited.
kissed his daughters goodbye.
waved, Jeramiah in her hands. Martha thought the custom ridiculous.
would be attending the feast after the ceremony so why not attend? But who was Martha to question
The snow crunched under the wagon’s wheels and the atmosphere inside the wagon was giddy and cozy. Eli’s barn was full of people from the community but Jacob’s parents, just like her own, were not allowed to attend.
Jacob stood at the other end of the barn, looking dashing in his trousers and shirt of sky blue. It made his eyes sparkle extra blue, a depth in which Martha saw an abundance of love for her. He was wheeling Sarah around in her wheelchair so she could greet the folk who had come to celebrate the union.
Martha walked over to Sarah, frail and papery-skinned but very much alive. Her eyes were sparkling and though she looked like she had been dragged from the jaws of death, Martha knew her sister was a survivor, one of
strong people. They all were. All three Bontrager sisters who had taken the odds
sent their way and still held their heads high and dealt with them with dignity.
Martha took her place in front of Bishop Amos, Jacob beside her and her sisters, Jarron and the
behind her. With her family all around, Martha could ask for no more of
“Merry Christmas,” Jacob whispered to Martha as the service started.
“And to you, my love,” Martha replied.
“Thank you for the lovely present, Em,” Jarron murmured, gingerly patting her belly.
“Thank you for being mine,” Emma said. “And for the great joy you give me every day. I would not have known such happiness without you.”
,” Isaac and Ruth nuzzled into Sarah as the service proceeded.
“Merry Christmas my dear
,” Sarah wheezed, kissing their curly heads. She glanced up at the ceiling and imagined the sky beyond. “Merry Christmas my love, wherever you are,” she sent her message on the wind.
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AMISH ROMANCE SERIES
SHORT AMISH ROMANCE STORIES
AMISH YOUNG SPRING LOVE SHORT STORIES SERIES
THE AMISH PARABLES SERIES
Coming Soon…..Stolen Amish Baby
Life was a blessing that everyone took for granted. Everyone was simply contented with the fact that they exist, without even realizing that their very existence, their very lives were gifts that no other human being could have given them. Only Gott had that power, that authority to bring whoever He wished into this world. He alone determined everyone’s lives and fates, but sometimes people wished they had that very authority. For some, they wished they could create life as easily as Gott willed it.
Adam and Gabrielle Troyer were one such couple who wished they had such power. Married already for nearly seven years without a child to care for, they could not help but feel a little envious of all the new couples they saw during Sunday service who had already been blessed. Those new families’ happiness only seemed to rub the depressing truth in Adam’s and Gabrielle’s faces...they couldn't have a child.
Gabrielle brushed the flour from her hands and sighed. She seemed to sigh a lot recently. It wasn't as though she were miserable:; not really. She loved Adam the same today as she did when she married him. They adored each other. They both had fulfilling lives. He worked in his father's furniture store, a store that one day would become his. She had a part time position with an English tailors at town. They both had a great deal of friends within the Amish community and beyond. There would hardly be an evening go by where they weren't invited to dinner, helping out their siblings or engaging in a range of pursuits with various groups. But all of that couldn't hide the feeling that something was missing from their lives.
It didn't take a genius to work out what that missing thing was.
They were the only couple in the community without children.
Most people close to the couple understood that they shouldn't ask. Her mother had given up talking about it after seeing the floods of tears her daughter was reduced to whenever the subject was raised. They were trying. But Gott simply hadn't blessed them. Of course some of the older community members, who didn't really understand the situation, couldn't help but ask when they met. Gabrielle would smile and say in a little while and then rush home and cry her heart out for the rest of the day. The couple had even considered visiting an English specialist on the subject. Doctors could do marvellous things these days, Adam had said. He produced a newspaper article all about something called IVF and the countless number of childless couples it had helped. Gabrielle had read that article time after time. But despite her desire for a child she knew that she couldn't do that. Gott and Gott alone had the power to grant them the blessings of a child not a doctor. She put the article away and instead she vowed to pray harder. Gott would surely not forsake her.