Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Death of Paul Crider (as told by Bertha Mae Sollenberger Crider Heisey)

Paul and Bertha Crider - Married on April 22, 1944

I've been sharing parts of my mother's story on Facebook, leading up to Mother's Day. This story is just too precious to only post part of it. I've taken an excerpt from a little book my sister wrote (with my Mother) not long before her death. I'm so glad we have this story in writing. Thank you, Aspen (my sister) for capturing Mother's story!

In April of 1947, Paul and Bertha were in a car accident after Paul fell asleep at the wheel. My mother's front teeth were knocked out and her jaw was broken in 5 places. 

We pick up the story here...

"After that car accident in April, life seemed rather heavy and I had just said to Paul while getting ready for bed on a Sunday night early in July—we were talking back and forth about the car accident, and I said: "Well, honey, I feel that I can go through anything as long as I have you to go through it with me. If you were taken from me, I'd hibernate the rest of my life." Paul turned to me and said in surprise, "Honey, I'm disappointed. I wish your faith in God would be strong enough that you could accept whatever happens as God's will for your life. Look at my parents. No two people loved each other more than they, yet when my father died, Mother accepted it as God's will and went steadfastly on her way."
The next day, Monday, July 7, I was hanging up my laundry on the clothesline outside, and thinking just how happy I was..I did love my life. I had a lovely son, and I was happy being the wife of Paul Crider. And then my mother and a neighbor lady came knocking on my front door, both looking very grave. They told me that there had been an accident on the job where Paul was working—building a silo in New Oxford. He had fallen from a height of about 40 feet and he was seriously injured. They told me he was in a coma, in the Hanover Hospital, and if I wanted to see Paul alive, I should come quickly with them to the hospital. Well, I went, I did get to see him alive, but he never regained consciousness. He died four days later on July 11, 1947.

After Paul died, and I remembered the conversation that had taken place so close to his death; it felt like somehow God was in it—He had prepared my heart, gone before anad arranged that Paul would give me this message in the calm and quite of home. "Have faith in God, that no matter what happens, you will know it is God's will for your life." It was almost as though it was a parting note from Paul.

The other thing that helped me during that time was regarding the numbers. I realized all the series of the number 7s had signifiance to me. Seven is God's number, said to be the perfect number...Paul had his fatal fall on the 7th day of the 7th month of 1947. I so needed to make sense of all of this for myself and seeing the 7s seemed to help. I didn't fall apart in the same way I think I would have if I hadn't had Paul's parting message and the numbers' message to hold onto. My heart is deeply moved when I realize the graciousness and love of God that He had gone before and provided for something He knew I would greatly need.

To read more excerpts about her story, visit my Facebook Page here.