Cracks and Comforts

Cracks and ComfortsP1040700

This was my first Father’s Day that included time at the cemetery.

Do you ever see a greeting card section that pains you — even from a distance? Something that feels like a collage of endearing memories overlapped with closed doors?

I remember him teaching me to drive stick around the block without looking scared out of his mind. I remember a birthday present he got me in high school: a hope chest he put together and stained with a peachy gloss. I still have it at the end of my bed. I remember the evening he drove to the store at midnight to buy me hairspray. (He rescued me from experiencing an eighth grade morning with an extra-frizzy perm.)

For those of you avoiding the card aisle when you go grocery shopping, know you aren’t alone. Over these last months, I’ve found a sort of quiet solidarity between grievers. It’s an honor when someone else shares their story of loss with me. And somehow, it’s a comfort too. We each have utterly unique relationships to mourn. But we meet in some kind of shared experience, don’t we? We know what it is to carry that non-stop Withoutness here.

I believe our current lives are not the end of the story. It’s possible to keep thinking, loving and learning with God. But right now, I’m unable to go to the cafe with my (step)dad for dark roast and cream, and give him his card.

Photo and post by Bethany Rohde. A modified version of this piece first appeared on the All Nine site.


Over the Crowd


The slow work of defrost now fans across
my breath-covered windshield. Fingertips jam
against the receipt-scraps of my evening.

I catch some movement through the glass: a girl,
half the height of a Christmas tree.
She’s crawling up into a window display advertising: Buy
one get one free.

Her face is fixed on a tidy pyramid of ornaments.
They almost match her earmuffs,
of candy apple red.
She’s hanging the globes, shoulder to shoulder, on one

brow-level branch.
With her back to the ever-scrolling crowd
(which does not see her either)
she dots the flocked tree with color.

I leave my car in park.
She’s making room for the last of the baubles,
while occasionally sweeping their price tags
just out of her eyes.


All poetry and photography on this site by Bethany Rohde. 

A Memory From May

Taking time

to water the peonies

sheltered from the rainstorm