”How fair is your love . . .my spouse! How much better than wine is
your love . . .” ~ Song of Songs 4:10 (NKJV)
Through a collection of poems, this week’s column will be dealing with the subject of grief, an emotion we all experience at one time or another in our life.
Six years ago, Keen and I were celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary at our favorite hideaway, The Cottage House Bed and Breakfast in Council Grove, Kansas. We always reserve the same room – the Honeymoon Suite that has a veranda where we like to relax while we enjoy our breakfast. Before we check out, I always record a few comments in the guest book/journal. That year I wrote a short poem about our favorite room.
Friend of Mine
As we paged through the guest book, Keen and I enjoyed reading some of the past entries. Some guests wrote predictable comments such as: “Had a great time. Thanks for the rose and card. This is a beautiful setting.” But others shared glimpses into their lives and hearts and emotions. We read about one couple who had been considering divorce, but felt their love had been rekindled during their stay. Another woman wrote about all the tragedy their family had experienced in the past year. She said she also gained 20 pounds since their wedding and felt so sad about it. But her husband said, “Let me be your mirror.” It was very touching.
But the most poignant entry was written a year earlier by a pediatrician from Wichita named Dwight Lindholm. Dwight wrote a heartrending poem titled “Beyond,” which was about the tragic death of his infant son, Andrew. When Keen and I returned home, I got in touch with the Lindholm’s to let them know how moved we were by his poem, and we’ve been exchanging Christmas cards ever since. Recently I contacted the Lindholm’s by email and asked permission to share Dwight’s comments and poem in my column. I am happy to report that they graciously agreed. Dwight’s wife Pam also informed me that they are expecting another little blessing this October.
Dwight and Pam Lindholm and Family
Here are Dwight’s comments and poem dated 6-6-2000 – 6-9-2000:
We were here to regroup. This has given us time to share with each other, assimilating our present situation following the death of our son (April 8, 2000) as an infant. It’s also our belated 1st anniversary celebration (April 17, 2000).
God had given us grace to work through the loss. The day of the funeral God provided Pam and I the same message separately from different places in the Bible – “by faith we stand,” from II Corinthians 1:24 and Romans 5:2.
The grief is still there but knowing God cares and that we will see Andrew again in Heaven gives us hope.
While here we saw the historical sites around town. We also visited the lake and the National Prairie Park. This is Pamela’s first visit here. It is also my first since the loss of my first wife to breast cancer over 4 years ago. This was a perfect tranquil setting to be still and to relate to each other at every level.
Beyond the stain glass window I can’t see
But hear the birds chirping with glee
Beyond the closed door sleeps my bride
A virtuous woman who gives me pride
Beyond the clouds are Heaven’s portals high
Way above this open prairie sky
Does my God care for me so small?
Yes, He does, why doubt at all?
He sent the birds to give me glee,
He sent my wife to stand by me
God gives me hope of heavenly realms
A home for all who here have God at their helm
Though I can’t see God as I see man
I know He’s here by the work of His hand
Why else would we have a beautiful earth?
Why else would our soul yearn for a second birth?
As each day goes by I love Pam more
More as we struggle, as life’s clouds pour
More as ones dear are washed away
More through the fear before night becomes day
So give me your hand, my precious wife
And we’ll go hand in hand through this perilous life
Though we can’t see more than a step at a time
We can walk boldly with Jesus as yours and mine
With much love to my precious wife Pam,
(I wrote this next poem for a friend of ours who lost his wife to Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is based on an actual conversation.)
Half Long Enough
By Eileen Umbehr
How long has it been?
I asked him that day
Since your precious wife
Sadly passed away
It will be two years
Come May 7th
Since the good Lord
Took her to Heaven
I’m so sorry for your loss
Are you doing all right?
I miss her very much
And I still cry every night
Although I was blessed
To share those fifty years
It wasn’t half long enough
For someone so dear
She was the center of my life
And she was the glue
That held our family together
No matter what we went through
I always thought I would go first
And I told her to remarry
But now she’s been taken
And I’m the one to tarry
I’m left alone with my memories
But I’m thankful for our love
And the life we shared together
Though not half long enough
Before My Mother Died
By Connie Hinnen Cook
Before my Mother died
Daddy always had a smile,
Fun-loving, playful, upbeat ~
"carefree joy" described his style.
Each day when he came home from work
you'd hear his happy song,
The men who worked beside him said
he whistled all day long!
He looked for folks that he could bless
and hugged each who came near,
Townfolk would rush up to his side
to hear his jokes and cheer.
His love was unconditional,
he spread it far and wide ~
Yes, Daddy was a different man
before my Mother died.
After her death I never saw
that glee once in his eyes...
To me, Daddy seemed haunted
by a ghost that never dies.
Daddy went Home on August 12th,
his suffering is no more ~
But in my heart I feel he "died"
eleven years before.
And when the prayers for me have stopped
and sorrow takes its toll,
I'll find my peace and comfort
that now, Daddy is made whole.
He's once again with Mother,
and with Jesus by his side...
Daddy is now the man I knew
before my Mother died.
"Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death." ~ Song of Songs 8:6 (KJV)
I’d like to close with part of a prayer that has been attributed to St. Patrick. It is called “Lorica” – named for a Roman coat of armor that is meant for the protection of the one wearing it.
I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me
God’s might to uphold me
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s eye to look before me
God’s ear to hear me
God’s word to speak for me
God’s hand to guard me.