In an interview with Sporting News, former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden quotes a poem written by Sven Nader after hearing Wooden talk of “yonder”.

Obstensibly, the poem speaks of the afterlife, but for Wooden, the “yonder” of the last stanza refers to his wife, Nell, who died in 1985.  Still very much in love with the girl who enchanted him for 53 years, Wooden writes a letter to his bride every month.  The house looks the same as when she left:  her dressing gown is still stretched over her side of the bed, her lipstick on the vanity.

At 98, Wooden speaks in the interview of his intense longing to be with his wife.  

I wish it would happen how.  But I’m not going to try to hurry it… I’m thankful for so many things.  My children, my 13 great-grandchildren, all live within an hour or less, and I see them all regularly.

Within an hour or two, I can see the ocean, I can be in the mountains, I can be in the desert, I can be at Disneyland, I can be at an athletic event.  There are so many things.  I have been so blessed.  And out yonder, I’ll be with Nellie again.

Here’s the poem, by Sven Nader:

Once I was afraid of dying,
terrified of ever-lying,
petrified of leaving family, home and friends.

Thoughts of absence from my dear ones,
brought a melancholy tear once,
and a dredful fear of when life ends.

But those days are long behind me,
fear of leaving does not bind me,
and departure does not hold a single care.

Peace does comfort as I ponder,
a reunion in the yonder,
with my dearest one who is waiting for me there.