The rain would not let up. Since the morning all it had done was pour, the heavens letting loose their tears as yet an other young heir was laid to rest. An other. Cora could not help but let out a soft, anguished sigh. First James and Patrick, then their baby boy, and now Matthew. Feeling an other wave of grief, she squeezed her eyes shut in a vein attempt to stop the flow of tears from streaming down her face. She pulled the babe in her arms closer to her, envious of the fact that he was oblivious to what was around him.
So much of this brought memories of Sybil's funeral back, painfully forcing themselves into Cora's focus, and the wound was reopened. It was as if her shoulders now bore such a great weight, she sagged forward. Had it not been for the supportive arm of her husband gently around her shoulders, Cora feared she would fall down. The babe in her arms shifted in his sleep, a small bubbley sigh escaping his perfect miniature mouth. She softly wiped the small bubbles from his mouth, smiling slightly in-spite of her internal pain.
As Mr. Travis continued to read from Psalm 23, and as she softly rocked the sleeping bundle, Cora let her mind go back to that horrible moment, standing outside Mary's room as she and Robert struggled to find a way to tell their daughter that her husband was not coming back.
They stood in the hall of the hospital, the baby's soft cry breaking their stunned reverie. "Good God, how are we to tell her?" Roberts asked before lifting a hand to wipe the rouge tears off his cheeks. Standing perfectly still, afraid that if she were to move she would fall, Cora simply looked towards the slightly open door to Mary's room. "How-what could we possibly say..."
Taking a deep breath, Cora moved to hold her husbands arm. "I think we first need to realize that there's no 'better' way of saying it." Robert sadly turned to look at her. "We will tell her, and hold her as her world breaks around her." Cora's voice cracked and broke with emotion, her own tears finally falling. Taking her hand, Robert slowly nodded and led them into the room.
While Cora was not an overly religious woman, she knew that it had to be by the grace of the Almighty that she was able to endure what happened next. Inside, Mary was happily humming to her son in her arms, a soft smile graced her features as she held a little hand in her own. As she looked up to the door and saw her parents, the atmosphere shifted, and a shadow seemed to cover the room. Cora did not hear Roberts words, she went to her daughters side, grasped her one of her hands as if to pass strength from her to her daughter. It will forever be burned into Cora's memory, the range of emotions she watched play over Mary's face, and she would have given anything to spare her daughter this.
The soft thud of dirt against wood brought Cora back to the present. She felt her husbands arm tighten around her back, and she opened her eyes as people came over to offer their condolences. Some went to go to Mary to speak with her directly, but as their words left them, they simply turned to leave. Cora did not think less of them because of it. She knew far too well how they felt.
As she turned back to her husband, she saw her mother in law slowly walking towards them, the slick mud making her steps more careful than usual. Robert dutifully held out his arm as support, but Violet shook her head. "Oh, no thank you my dear. If I may?" It took Cora a moment before realizing that Violet was talking to her with her arms extended. After momentarily being taken aback, Cora stepped forward, handing Violet the baby. Cora saw a brief crack in her mother in laws British composure as the corners for her mouth turned into a small smile. "Thank you. Now…I will need a moment with my granddaughter." Nodding, Cora slipped her arm through her husbands and started to walk towards the car. Before reaching the road, they stopped under a large oak and turned to look back.
"Oh Cora, how are we to help her through this?" Roberts question was almost a whisper. She watched as the baby was passed to Mary, and tears burned Cora's eyes. "Our family seems to be shrouded in death and grief." Cora clutched his hand and leaned into his side for more support. "We can't relate to this kind of loss, and I fear our inexperience will only make things harder for her."
Cora didn't have an answer. Oh how she wished she did! While they had to endure the loss of a child, Cora could not imagine the overwhelming, hollowing grief that racked her darling daughter. She knew Mary's road ahead would be unbearable, every moment of the day consumed with grief, all the while raising her son. She also knew that no matter what, Mary would not be alone. She will be there for her daughter, and help in whatever way she can to ease her pain. 'How can we help her through this?' Robert's question flashed through her mind. Whatever it takes. One day at a time.
I couldn't help but try and write the funeral from others pov. There might me others to come, but who knows :) Let me know what you think!