Wanda’s Journal

Fear of the Unknown

In my novel, The Sugarcreek Surprise, the main character, Lisa, faced a terrible tragedy at the age of seven, when her parents and paternal grandparents were killed, along with their driver. Lisa was the only survivor of the accident. She was sent to live with her maternal grandparents, who lived in another state. Despite their loving care, Lisa became an introvert and feared the unknown. It was difficult for her to form a bond with anyone, fearful that something tragic might happen to them. Do you think this was a normal reaction? Have you, or someone you know, ever been in a similar situation when you’ve gone through a tragedy? If so, how did you cope?

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  1. This is a great post. I think it is normal how Lisa reacted. Everyone deals with loss in different ways. Especially with her being so young when she lost her parents. I lost my mom a year ago and the pain is still strong as it was the day she died. My way of dealing is just keeping all my different emotions and pain inside. It is hard when a dear loved one died.

  2. I think that Lisa’s reaction is very normal, and showing it added a very realistic touch to The Sugarcreek Surprise plot. I also appreciate that her grandparents were so concerned, and tried to help her move forward. I’ve never been in her particular situation, but I do believe that seeking God’s help and guidance is certainly the first step.

  3. The loss of family members in such tragic ways would be hard for anyone to handle. When a child is left behind they don’t understand why and to be sent to a different state where they don’t know anyone would be hard for them. Hopefully this writing will give comfort to all who read it.

  4. I lost my dad in 2019 and my mom in 2022, and I miss both of them so much. I say prayers every day- usually the Our Father, and hopefully they (mean my parents) know how much they did for all of us kids- as their is 9 of us. I say the rosary every day in memory of my mom and dad and I know that they are watching over all of us.

  5. It is tragic losing a loved one, or loved ones at an early age. It can shape your life. Sometimes a person will react in a negative fashion, others positive. Through God’s love and the love of family members, you can survive. Being able to read about others losses and how they react, and endure their pain is so helpful. Thank you for your inspirational stories.

  6. I can really relate to this theme. Although I can’t cite any particular event, I have always been the kind of person who is waiting for “the other shoe to drop.” I’m constantly worried that something bad will happen to someone I love. I wish I wasn’t such a worrier!

  7. I lost my Mom two years ago. Yes so.etimes it’s hard to keep going but I have learned to keep my focus on what God wants me to be doing.

  8. I have never been in that stituation. Have had many loses and house fire which I lost everything.

  9. Losing a family member or a friend is always hard to deal with….just think that they are no longer in pain and are with other family members & friends…

  10. I know of a little one who lost his father young in life. While he has his mom, it is clear the loss caused some anxiety and social awkwardness. I feel the reaction Lisa had is spot on.

  11. I believe that this is a normal reaction to something that is so deviating in your life. After the death of my grandma that I was very close to died I didn’t want to get close to anyone that was older in age as she was for the fear of them dying. I also had a drowning experience that made me fearful of going into water above my knees then a couple years later my brother at the age of 8 drowned my younger brother was swimming and got caught in a whirlpool my father jumped in to save him without seeing him my 8 year old brother Charles jumped in to help my younger brother got out fine my father was fine but my brother Charles didn’t make it till this day I have a fear of going into water that is deep not sure if it’s the same but it’s a fear I have thank you Wanda for all your books with wisdom in them

  12. This I believe is a normal reaction for her to go through. She lost her parents and grandparents. She had to watch them die. Its such a sad situation. I watched my mama die from her sickness she had. It was a hard thing to watch. So much suffering. I am still going through all the emotions of losing her.My whole family is. But I do find peace that she is resting safe secure and healthy in Jesus’s arms.

  13. I have never experienced a tragedy like that. I think her response is normal. I can’t imagine losing my parents and grandparents all at once. No siblings I thank Gid I have never experienced that!!!

  14. I just finished The Decision. I really enjoyed it so much, sometimes I couldn’t put it down. You keep your readers attention. It made me feel like I was right there living it. Keep up the wonderful work. I really like the scripture, prays & mentioning God this is a big plus for me!

  15. I love all your books and can’t wait to start this series. Unfortunately, sometimes no matter what the age, this can happen if the event is traumatic enough. I lost my Memere (French for grandmother) in 2013 to cancer, even though I was 29 at the time, it was still very traumatic as I was very close to her. Although I didn’t exactly like Lisa, I did stop doing some things I enjoyed for awhile because we used to do them together, in fact, I still have a project I started before she died and though I’ve gotten back to working on it, it’s still unfinished.

  16. Yes I think this is a normal reaction. She has lost everyone near and dear to her and everyone she has trusted. Now she has to start all over again trusting in people. I have been in a similar situation when my mother passed away. I had to be myself in front of other relatives who wanted to help me and be there for me and it was not the same. I retract into myself and was bitter and angry and didn’t let people in. It took a long time to get over it.

  17. The loss of a loved one is difficult at any age. I am in my late 60’s. My brother stepped into heaven two weeks ago. There is not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Lisa’s reaction, due to her young age, is somewhat normal. How am I coping? My faith in God and His promise of eternal life with Him gives me great hope, knowing I will see my brother again. To keep my hands and heart busy, I am making family members memory pillows out of his shirts. As I make a pillow for a specific family member, I pray for them specifically to grow strong in the Lord and/or believe in His saving grace. This helps turn grief into peace and joy in the Lord.

  18. I miss my patents so much! I can not seem to open up to anyone any more! I have closed myself off!

  19. I think her reaction is pretty normal, especially for a child. I have not experienced anything similar, nor has my family. What a very sad and difficult situation.

  20. I think Lis’s Reaction is normal. That much loss is so difficult to deal with, especially at her young age. I think being able to talk to a certified counselor would be of benefit. Keeping all those feelings inside is not healthy.

  21. I read this book and could hardly put it down. Such a great story and story teller. I believe this feeling is more normal than some may think.

  22. i lost my dad in 2013 and i feel like it was yesterday i think we are all different in our grief but its not a easy situation for anyone

  23. I believe this is a normal reaction. This is not as traumatic as losing family, but a few years ago we lost a dairy barn, some cows and a few calves and that was stressful for us.

  24. It is hard to lose a loved one, even when you or the loved one, is older. Even when we know we will be reunited in Heaven, it still leaves a big hole in our hearts and lives.

  25. I feel that it is a natural reaction for people. But they have to have that little opening in their heart to one day let someone in and then their healing can begin. Though God knows our hearts better than we do. When my husband and I first got married, we moved every two years and I didn’t want to get to know anyone because it was like losing a family member, all over again, everytime.

  26. Everyone reacts differently to loss. Some do put up a barrier as they fear further loss & thats a normal reaction, but should be worked through. Some may become too clingy. Mysrlf, I think I may have held back & kept emotional distance due to a traumatic loss in younger years.

  27. I think it’s normal to feel detached and alone in her situation. Even to feel guilt for being the lone survivor. We all deal with loss in different ways. Sometimes the love and support of family and friends isn’t enough. Faith in God and having trust in his plan for our lives can bring great comfort and healing.

  28. It’s hard to say if it’s normal. It’s hard to adjust to a new setting in any situation for a seven year old.

  29. I think she acted in a normal way. Is there really a normal way when a child loses those close to them? When my grandmother died, my father gave me a choice to either go live with my aunt in another state or a family in the small town I grew up in. My siblings continued to live at home. My grandmother was my Angel on earth and when she died my world fell apart. Being in 10th grade, it was difficult for me and my siblings would have nothing to do with me. Yes, I had many adjustments to make. It was a very difficult time for me. God got me through all of this but it was not easy.

  30. I think it was normal…everyone reacts differently. I was in a tornado and even though I didn’t lose everything like many people I knew, it was still very tough and I still am dealing with it years later whenever a storm goes through or is heading my way.

  31. Yes, I think her reaction was normal. I have suffered through the loss of the majority of my family members in a relatively short amount of time. It has changed me and has in fact made me hesitant to get too close to anyone. Though I have lost so many, I thank God for those that are left and I thank Him for His mercy, grace and peace toward me.

  32. Yea I feel like that’s a very normal reaction to coping with a stressful/hurtful/ life changing event.

  33. It’s very hard to lose your parent’s. I lost my Daddy to cancer in 2004. The pain and struggles he went through was hard. My Mom in 2015 from heart dease. Then I lost my only Beth in 2020 from breast cancer that turned into bone cancer. Beth was my only child. Praise the Lord she is in Heaven with the Lord. With losing her it was hard to even want to live. The Lord had other plans for me. I still have have grand kids and Great grants that love and need me.

  34. I can’t begin to understand what Lisa went through but I know that if your faith is put in God’s hands he will get you through and trials that may come up.

  35. I do believe at that young age it is a normal reaction. It’ll take a lot of love and understanding, as well as faith to move on from such an extreme trauma that she has gone through.

  36. It is such a terrible tragedy that Lisa went through. Nothing like this has ever happened to me or anyone I have been close with. I just can’t imagine how hard it would be. I can see how Lisa would want to shut down and escape. A close relationship with the Lord and having the support of Christian friends and family would be a huge help towards healing.

  37. Losing the ones we love changes our lives forever. It is helpful to read how others process this tragedy. Holding on to one’s faith in God is so important.

  38. I so appreciate and enjoy your inspirational words of love and wisdom you share with your fans and readers. You are truly a blessing in my life and other’s you share your heart with.

  39. I think that is human nature; when you unexpectedly lose someone, you’re afraid it’ll happen again.

  40. I think it’s normal especially when you lose someone so close to you. In 2019 I lost two brothers and my precious Daddy so I know how it feels. I learned to lean on God more than I ever have. He carries me through everyday, moment by moment.

  41. I’m reading the surgar creek surprise and I am loving it. My sister and I are going thru a hard time. We have always been close couple years a go my mom fell and broke her hip she is 83. She’s had 2 strokes and now she has deminsha. She has gotten worse the past couple of months. We think she is ready to give up. She talks about dying and being with my dad who we lost Christmas eve of 96. And my brother Jamie who died of sins in 68. This is very hard knowing that we could loose our mom any day. My sister n I don’t think that we won’t have her for another year. I ask God to keep her around so she can meet her new great granddaughter that will arrive this July. I want to make this a very special mother’s day for her. I want to make sure that my kids n grandkids pass on the live n joy that my mom has gave us and what we have learned from her growing up.

  42. Unfortunately, Lisa’s reaction to trauma is a normal one. With the gentle help of caring, Christian friends and prayer, I’m sure the Lord would find a way to help Lisa begin to trust and blossom once again as a young lady. The Lord may have allowed this ‘thorn in her flesh’ so she could help build her Christian character.

  43. Lisa’s reaction is normal for someone going through a loss at a young age. I thank God for all the beautiful nature and beauty he has provided for us.

  44. I lost my mo. In 2019 I moved her and and my dad in with us to help take care of her and three short months later we lost her. The heartache will always be with us and we all cope in different ways. I miss her every day and seeing my dad here with us helps with that but I also feel pain for his lose:(

  45. I have lost both of my parents and the hurt was so real but I came out of it eventually. Now I’m seeing my/our daughter go through losing her son. He had a rare disease and had been hospitalized for over 2 months then the hospital palative care group urged them to let him go if it was God’s will. He left us about one month ago. At the age of 24. She seems ok but if I make comment she gets so upset. Said she wanted nothing for her birthday or for Mother’s Day. She does have another son! I’m just not sure how to cope with her on this one. We all are hurting……..
    Thank you Wanda for your caring ways!

  46. My brother was instantly killed in a car accident when he was 32 which was difficult. Prayer and Bible promises were a help.

  47. I am going through a hard time now. I lost my husband to cancer in August 2021. This is a hard journey and if it wasn’t for God, church and His Holy Word I would not survive.

  48. I believe this is normal. I have a foster brother who was left on the side of the road when he was seven by his mother with his siblings. They were of course placed in the foster care system and separated. He went through difficulties not wanting to trust or get to know anyone in fear of being abandoned. The physiatrist said he was in mourning because he had lost his whole family. My parents took him into their home and he began to open up to them it took a very long time. He stayed with them until he got married. He is in his 60’s now and has moved back in with them to help take care of them. He will tell you to this day it was the love of God through them that made him the Godly man he is today. I know this is different than you plot in your book but I just feel people grieve when they lose their family whether by dead or by parents making terrible choices in life. May God bless you

  49. Saturday we bury my sister in law who has suffered for two years from cancer. You are never prepared for death. But knowing she is with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ 🙏❤️ Praying for you and your family and friends 🙏

  50. Lisa’s reaction is normal. I lost my dad, brother and then my son all in 4 years time. Having the love of my family and being able to share with them helped me to get through the hard times. Though you never get over the loss of loved ones, it does get easier and less painful.

  51. March 7th 1985 I was a week shy of 7 months pregnant while out with a friend shopping a car hit us on the side and I went to the hospital cause after the hit I felt a instant pain in my stomach the obgyn said everything was fine with me pain was all day next day I went back to hospital again nothing wrong went home crying finally 3rd day pain was so bad I went back to the hospital they checked me said I was in full labor I said it’s too early they told me I was just about to deliver that I waited too long to come my daughter was born on March 10th 1985 at 3lb 14 Oz 15 1/2 in her heart wasn’t developed fully missing a chamber she needed more time I had her for only 4 days she passed away March 14 1985 I still cry my eyes out on her birthday and anniversary of her death Christmas day I put up the ornaments I had name for her and I place the little doll I bought her while pregnant.

  52. Thank you so very much Wanda for writing and educating us about the life and ways of the Amish people. I think Lisa reacted in a very normal way. There is so much stress in loving someone and then losing them. You want to protect yourself from that loss, and protect them as well.
    Thank you for what you do!

  53. Thankfully I do not know anyone who has experienced such a loss. I think being an introvert and fearful in such a situation is normal. I think only with God’s grace could you overcome that.

  54. I’ve been told that your books are so wonderful and would love to read one of them. Some of my ancestors were the first Mennonites to come from Switzerland to America. Just want to connect in some way as to their ways of life.

  55. I haven’t read this book yet but I loved the Walnut Creek Wish. I loved the antique store owners. They enjoyed running the store as much as they loved sharing the love of Jesus with those who came in.

  56. Looking forward to reading your new book. I so enjoy reading of any kind, but I’m drawn to the Amish stories.
    I feel for Lisa. I was extremely lucky and didn’t lose a loved one at such a young age. As a teacher, I’ve had children who have had terrible losses, and know it colors their lives for years if not forever.

  57. I don’t think there is any such thing as “normal” when you go through tragedy. I faced tragedy every weekend when my dad came home drunk. Rarely was there a weekend he was sober. I am thankful he was able to be sober during the week and hold down a full time job. To this day, if I encounter an angry adult male, my fear level goes off the chart. I have forgiven my dad, but my reaction to anger is my normal.

  58. I have gone through a divorce and the arrest and trial of my son. It is only by God’s grace that I was able to get through. My own family and church family were very supportive.

  59. I, myself, have endured being through numerous car accidents. By the true Grace & Mercy of God, I am still here. I’ve wondered sometimes, the why’s, the how come me, and so on. I’ve survived a head on, 2 rear-end, 2 rollovers, 1 t-bone accident, and I question that. I Thank God for being here, but I try to understand my purpose. Luckily, noone was killed in any of these accidents, however from the head on, I now have a fear of driving in pouring down rain. It bothers me to drive in icy conditions, as well. Then, from the t-bone accident, it messed me up physically. But, I know God has a purpose for everything and I’m still listening and obeying, trying to understand my purpose of being.

  60. Of course the child would fear the unknown. Her whole world was changed and she was to young to have the capacity to begin to understand it. This is an example of even thought the Amish seem so different, we are all humans and tragedy is tragedy.

    On another note, I just want you to know that White Christmas Pie was one of my favorites. And Every year I make it at Christmas. My oldest Grandson decided it was made with snow. He now tells that to the younger ones.

  61. I don’t think I have this book (it sounds very interesting), but I have almost all of your books. My bookcase is overflowing. I love your novels.