It had rained all day. Fitting. Anything beside the miserable damp cold would not have been fair. Not today. Through the shimmer of her veil, the Dowager Countess looked across the short distance to where her granddaughter stood. Like a marble pillar, face void of any emotion, Mary stood with her head downcast starring off to nothing. In the moment Violet no longer listened to the drone of the minister, nor the rain as it fell. Her heart broke for Mary. Waves of emotion coursed through her as memories of the loss of her own husband resurfaced. At least she lived a long life with her love, was able to celebrate a full life with him. Tears once again burned Violet's eyes as her gaze shifted to the bundle held gently in her daughter-in-laws arms. Cora stood next to Mary, her own tears falling unashamedly through closed eyes as she tried to reign in her own grief.
Violet thought for a moment as Cora shifted the little one slightly, and was further saddened to realize that she had not seen Mary hold her son since the day in the hospital.
Violet had been the last of the family to see her. When she walked into the small hospital room, she was surprised at what she saw. "How long has she been asleep?" She quietly asked Anna, immediately noticing the redness in the younger woman's eyes.
Quickly whipping her cheeks, Anna bowed before responding. "Not long m'lady. But she will have to be woken soon to feed the little one." Violet nodded sadly before moving over to her side. She patted Anna's clasped hands, using them slightly as she lowered herself onto the side of the bed.
"My dear, would you bring him here?" Voice lost to emotion, Anna nodded before turning to pick up the baby. Violet reached up and gently moved a strand of hair that had fallen across Mary's face. "Mary? Mary you must get up now."
"Why?" Came a quite, cold response. Mary opened her eyes and turned to face her grandmother. Taken a back slightly, Violet regained her posture.
As if on cue, a hungry cry started to fill the room. "You son is hungry m'lady." Violet turned as Anna moved to lay the baby in Mary's arms. The absence of emotion on Mary's face as she brought the babe closer to her, broke Violet's tough British resolve. Fearing an embarrassing display of emotion, she thought it better to withdraw. "I shall leave you to it." Before turning to leave she bent and pressed a kiss to her granddaughters' forehead. As soon as she left the room, she braced herself against the wall to regain her composure.
The soft thud of dirt against wood brought Violet back from her revere. As people took their turn to softly deposit dirt into Matthew's grave, Violet once again looked toward Mary. Many briefly stopped to offer their condolences, some, unaware what to say, simply turned to leave. Violet started to move around to the other side of the grave. Robert turned to her, offering a supportive arm.
"Oh, no thank you my dear. If I may?" She turned to hand her cane to the servant holding the umbrella over her, and then extended her arms to Cora. After momentarily being taken aback, Cora stepped forward, handing her the baby. For the first time that day, Violet broke into a smile as she noticed the boy awake and looking at her with dark blue eyes. "Thank you. Now…I will need a moment with my granddaughter." Cora took Roberts arm as they turned away, and headed towards the car.
As Violet approached, Mary turned her head towards her, but not making eye contact. Unaware of what to say first, Violet looked down at the babe who was once again sleeping. "Him, to answer your question." Mary looked at her grandmother in confusion.
"In the hospital, when I came to visit you. I woke you, and you asked me why." She took a step closer to her and held out her arms. "Fate has robbed your son of his father. He needs you now twice as much." Mary finally looked her in the eyes, and Violet was moved by her emotion and pain. As a single tear slipped out and down her face, Mary moved to hold her son.
"At least Matthew got to meet him." At that the walls broke, and the tears Mary had been holding in began to fall uncontrollably, and she silently sobbed clutching her son closer. Violet moved and hugged her, rubbing her back in an attempt to comfort her. "Oh granny, I can't do this. I can't do it without him."
"My poor girl." Violet pulled back. "One never knows how strong you are until you have no choice but to be strong."
"But how am I ever going to get through this alone?"
"I know scores of family can never replace him, nor fill the void in your heart. But Mary, you will never be alone. Your parents and I, and even Edith, all want to help in any way we can." She knew it was little comfort. She also knew there was nothing to say that could be comforting.
"Without him." Mary looked back to Matthew's grave. "He'll never kiss me again, hold me again, nor make me laugh again." She raised a hand to muffle her sob. "How will I ever live my life without him?" By now Violet's cheeks were tear-stained, and her hand moved from Mary's shoulder to around her waist drawing her against her side.
"A lifetime is overwhelming to think about. You will survive this." Mary looked back at her. "One day at a time, my dear. One day at a time."
AN: This was inspired by the season 4 promo pic of Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary). Hope you enjoyed! Constructive criticism welcome J