45 years ago, on a blistering Saturday in Delaware, a very young Clinton Yoder married an even younger Frieda Mishler. Pictures of that day show a groom sweating so much that his hair is wet and not even properly in place. The bride is demure in a simple, long white dress There was no air conditioning in Greenwood Mennonite Church at that time. I don’t remember much about that day except how hot it was.
These years have passed, as years are wont to do. The young love gave way to carefully pondered choices that made for stability and strength and influence and opportunity. Rocky at times? Yes. He was the proverbial stick in the mud and careful. She was fire and adventure. But the bond they forged stood the tests of time and one hard day in late October, it finished strong.
Today he remembers. This past week he has stirred around in his empty house and felt the sorrow heavy as his compounded grief settled hard on his heart. Last night he went to his daughter’s house where he will be gathered to his family, loved on by the people who are his because of her, and they will talk of a Wife and a Mom and a Mimi whose first absence on this July 4th “Day of Celebration” will be keenly felt.
I don’t know why she had to go so soon. I feel my brother’s sadness multiplied by the events of these past weeks, and hear a dirge rattling in my head that wants to quell the reminders of victory and joy and eternal life.
It’s not a blistering hot day Delaware today. There is a promise of rain, and it feels like a good day to weep for losses and to do some serious grieving. I sit at the counter in my well-lit kitchen, and talk to my sister and write and think and see the flowers outside my window moving in the breeze. A Blue Jay lights on the woodpecker block and the blackbirds fight at the platform feeder. I need to get groceries and the household is stirring around me. Everyday banality in the face of grief that helps to occupy my hands and divert my heart.
There is so much to be grateful for in the mundane.
I will choose to be grateful, too, for the memories that comfort, the promises that sustain, and even the calamitous grief that won’t always hurt this much. It is penance done for love. And having someone to love is still a best gift.
My heart gives grateful praise.