I want to - as much a cold computer will allow me to - express my deep appreciation to readers who have flooded Elizabeth Coblentz with emails and snail mails since the death of her beloved Ben on May 20.

I visited with Elizabeth on Friday evening May 26. There is a deep, profound sense of loss at the Coblentz household, as there is in any home where a loved one has been lost. I sometimes feel guilty about all the attention being showered on Elizabeth's loss, when I know that there are people equally as special as Ben who quietly pass away with little fanfare.

Nevertheless, there are no words to express the immense gratitude that Elizabeth feels towards all who have sent their comforting words. Letters and emails have come from all corners of the country. Sometime next week, I am going to take all the emails to Elizabeth in a special set of cloth binders. I think they will be very special to Elizabeth and her children.

I can only describe the atmosphere in the Coblentz household Friday as "empty." There was a definite emptiness in the air. Ben was missing from his familiar place in a rocking chair by the stove. I've always thought, though, that one of the most fascinating aspects of nature is "regeneration", the ability to repair oneself. We see it when a bone breaks. If the bone is set properly, it repairs itself, stronger than ever. We see it with trees, toppled by a storm. If the roots remain, they grow back. In the midst of the darkness of sadness, I saw shafts of sunlight at Elizabeth's: the sunlight of normalcy slowly returning. She made cottage cheese on Friday morning. The grandchildren were telling jokes. These are the seeds of normalcy which will root themselves in the soils of her sadness and one day bring her happiness again. This is true of anyone who is experiencing grief.

And for those who have asked, the best way to support Elizabeth is to strengthen the column. Email your local editor and tell them you enjoy reading it. Tell a newspaper that does not carry The Amish Cook to carry it. <click here for more on Ben's passing or to send a condolence>

Kevin Williams
Executive Editor
Oasis Newsfeatures

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