Cracks and Comforts

By Bethany Rohde

P1040700This 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?

Please know at least, you’re not alone. Over these four 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 share an 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, and that it is possible to keep thinking, loving and learning with God. But for the moment, I am unable to give Arthur Whetstone his Father’s Day gift.

For those of you who’ve lost someone close, I hope as you move through the pain you’re also able to put your hand on some kind of comfort.

The third tanka poem below is dedicated to my dear friend, Brynn Guadamuz. Her precious mother, Michele Montanaro, passed away this week.

Open air cracked
as he shook out the rug
I’m returned to rest
here, on the floor


How many more
huddles in the doorway with-
out your goodbye?
Alone, I press that chipped mug
to my cheek, and warm it.


Steering with two
fingers wrapped in a splint
I drive away
from Dad’s grave, to sit by you
at your mother’s memorial



A writer from the great state of Washington, Bethany Rohde received her BA in English Studies from Western Washington University. You can read her poetry at and on her blog,


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