It was one year ago today that the life of my beloved Waltraut (known to most of her U.S. friends as “Val”) was celebrated and commemorated at her funeral. The anniversary of her passing was just a few days prior, on 21 September, and I would have written about that, too, except for the fact that I was feverishly preparing for my trip to England to be with Wendy, who became my wife on 3 March 2016.
One of the significant facts in my new wife’s family history was that this day marks the second anniversary of her late husband Roger’s passing in 2014.
A Time For Love
These two events in our lives have turned into formative events, and connect us in ways that I would have been amazed at, had I looked at it from a mere outsider’s point of view. One thing that has proven to be of great comfort to me (and I believe to her as well) is the openness with which we talk to each other about our late spouses. Through this I have grown to appreciate her Roger and to love him as a brother, as I believe she appreciates and loves my Waltraut as a sister.
As Latter-day Saints (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “Mormons”), we believe in the possibility of being sealed for time and all eternity to our spouses. And although I have grown to love Wendy deeply, I know that her eternal companion is her beloved Roger Edmund Knight, as she knows that my eternal companion remains Waltraut Clark. Together we recognize that we are each earthly caretakers for each other’s departed spouse.
Yesterday, because it occurred to me that Roger’s headstone had probably been finally installed, I asked Wendy to take me to the little graveyard which has become her family’s place of last rest. And there it was: Roger’s monument – with a space reserved for Wendy when her time comes! The parallelism gives me great comfort, since my place with Waltraut is already prepared at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington. Now, not to dwell too much upon death, I make it clear that we have decided to avoid arriving at that state for as long as possible! But it is good know that if we should indeed suffer the fate of all humanity, a resting place awaits — one that will serve us until we rise again in the Resurrection – and that it will be a place shared with our beloveds.
I am so very grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for the promise of that Resurrection, a promise which He wrested for us by His own hand from the clutches of Death itself!
Wendy and I like to imagine that Roger and Waltraut have become great friends in the Spirit World, as they wait for us to join them, and although there is no religious doctrine to support the notion, we like to imagine also that together they arranged for us to meet and marry. Whether or not this is true (why shouldn’t it be?), before she died my Waltraut gave me to understand that she expected me to remarry (and as a good husband I tried to accede to her desire, albeit reluctantly at first). In parallel to this, Wendy and Roger each agreed that should one precede the other in death, that the other should seek to find comfort in a second companion.
Promises to Keep
Standing in front of Roger’s grave yesterday, I gave a promise to him that I would take care of his Wendy to the best of my ability as long as I live – something that I have promised the Lord already. It’s a promise I look forward to keeping.