A/N: The characters of Elsie and Charles Carson aren't mine, just as Downton isn't, I'm afraid.
The room is flooded with the sunlight of a new day. Elisabeth Carson sits on the edge of the bed she has shared with her husband for over forty years. Forty years of love and happiness, of stubborn arguments, compensation in romantic and virtual ways. Forty years of loss and avail, years, that seem to have gone by in such a hurry. So many years of being a unity that has been built on the fundament of love and trust, sincere and caring.
"Mama, are you coming? The car Lord Grantham promised to send is here." Elsie looks up into the face of her little one, their Sophie, who has grown up to be such a beautiful young woman with her father's brown eyes. She is smiling down at her, a shy smile which shows all the emotions she keeps to herself. Just for the moment, her eyes say, just until everything is over. "I'll be down in a minute precious, let me just find my gloves."
She gets up while Sophie leaves the room and walks to the dresser. When she opens the upper drawer, she finds everything as it has been for years. Her black gloves, simple with only her initials on the edge, next to his gloves, practical but just elegant enough to be proper for his occupation. She reaches for his scarf, feels the soft material and remembers how she has bought it for him three years ago for Christmas. How happy they had been then. She sees little Gracie sitting on the floor, surrounded by wrapping paper, smiling all over as she holds the little dress her Grandma has sewed for her doll. Sees how William, her firstborn, comes into the room, the snow still in his hair, with wood for the fire. Sees Sophie, sitting next to Charles on the settee, thanking him enthusiastically for the book she had wanted to read for such a long time, all red cheeks and sparkling eyes. She is so grateful. Grateful for her family, grateful for the life she has lived. With him. With their children.
Elsie knows that the tears will come, like they have every night since his passing. But right now, there is no place for tears. "I hope I've done you justice" she says quietly into the silence, thinking of the funeral that lies ahead. She knows that she has. And so she leaves the room, her husband's wedding band securely wrapped in her hand.