September 16, 2011

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Even After That: A book that helps with grief

Shirley Vogler MeisterIn my last column, I shared information about Father Terrence P. Curley and his book, Peace Beyond Understanding: Consoling One Another.

This column introduces Even After That by Judith de Wilde, who offers another dimension to the subject of death and consolation through poetry.

As a poet myself, I was instantly drawn to this collection written in tribute to Judith’s husband, Bob, who passed away in 2009.

To conserve space for her prologue, I share the first poem in prose form:

“So it began … more than 50 years ago, when first we met. The meeting was arranged by our mothers over a bridge game. Forced into a blind date, the man who would become my husband had one parting phrase for his mother that night: ‘Don’t you ever do this to me again!’ And she didn’t. … She didn’t have to because he never dated anyone else. Now, more than 50 years later, we have had to part, to say goodbye for now. For those of you who have not yet been torn apart from your partner, for those of you who have, I open my heart to share with you the tapestry of loving and leaving to perhaps make it easier for you or perhaps just to make it easier for me.”

I must admit I shed tears as I read that the first time. It “hit home” because my husband, Paul, and I were married on Aug. 30, 1958. I pray daily that he will have the wonderful longevity of his mother. Sadly, his father died shortly after we were married.

Through the years, I have shed tears, grieved long and prayed long for family members, friends, colleagues, pastors, teachers, neighbors and so many more.

I also mourn when beloved pets die, but believe that Our Heavenly Father will allow us to be reunited with all of our loved ones—even our pets.

de Wilde’s book, Even After That, is published by Author House in Bloomington. Readers can contact them at 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403. Readers can also log on to the website at or call 800-839-8640.

de Wilde published children’s books while getting her master’s degree in education at The College of New Jersey, and has had other writing assignments.

For eight years, she was the caregiver for her husband, who suffered a stroke. She lives in a small town in southern New Jersey. After his death, she found solace in writing. Photography also helps provide comfort.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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