Certain Man invited me on a golf cart ride this evening to see the gorgeous full moon over our Delaware countryside. It’s there every month, but there is just something breathtaking about how it rises over the south east horizon and climbs its way high into the sky before we have a chance to think or look twice. Especially the Autumn Moons.
The day has been busy, but also so close to normal that my head was able to think about more than what needed to be done. There was bread to bake, soup to make, custard to bake, and of course, lots of dishes to wash. I hadn’t gotten things done after our “First Sunday Potluck” so there was quite a mess in this kitchen. So my hands were busy with lots of kitchen things, but my heart was far away . . .
Far away? Yes. In Canton, Ohio. In Washington, DC. In Cold Spring, New York. In homes not so far away in Harrington and Milford and Greenwood. And in Heaven.
Heaven? Yes, especially Heaven. Thoughts of My Sweet Mama swirled around and around in my head as the sting of missing her took a fresh spot in my heart. And there was a reason.
Last night, Certain Man and I went to a drama program at Greenwood Mennonite Church put on by the Lititz Area Mennonite School. Our granddaughter, Charis, went with us. The production was very well done, and left me more than a bit pensive. After it was over, Charis and I were getting into the car when she suddenly said, “Grammy, may I go and find Grandma Yoder’s Grave?”
“Of course!” I said. “I’ll come, too!” Grandpa was still talking inside the church house, and I figured we had time. She headed out towards the cemetery, and I got things deposited in the car and followed. I watched her stride across the parking lot and thought about this young woman, and how she loved her Grandma Yoder. The loss of her Great-grandmother was huge and there was a picture of her at the grave that has epitomized childhood grief in my mind. The grave was so new that the date (6/16/15) had not yet been engraved.
It was dark in the church cemetery. I have not been there lately and the gravestones looked surprisingly foreign to me, but by the time I got there, Charis had already found the stone that marked the final resting place of My Sweet Mama, and her beloved “Grandma Yoder.” My phone caught this teen as she once again knelt by the familiar stone and traced the letters with her hand.
My heart caught in my throat. My Sweet Mama loved this little girl with all her being. She had prayed unendingly for Christina and Jesse to have a baby and she always had time for a bouncy little girl with shining eyes and undying devotion. On Sunday afternoons, Grandma Yoder and little Charis would spend hours playing a made up game with squishy hand warmers accompanied by shrieks of laughter on both sides of the game and a whole lot of running on the part of the short team. No one ever won or lost, it was just pure, unadulterated fun and I would give almost anything to hear it again.
Charis’ Mama and I usually cleaned up and washed dishes while they played, and then I would drive My Sweet Mama home to her quiet house.
“I’m so tired,” she would usually confess. “It makes me so tired to play with her, but she loves it so much, and I enjoy it, too. I just don’t want to not play when I can!” I reassured her, as I always did, and soon another day was over, and another memory was in my overflowing trunk of good generational memories.
There came a Sunday in early May of 2015 that was the last time.
We didn’t know!
I have so many good memories. The memories help to hold me in a place of JOY in these days that sometimes threaten to shake my sense of calm.