By Vicki © 2004
It had been nearly two years since his death and she never understood why she returned there but now there she was in front of a grave with a small angel on it; she looked at the inscription
She missed him dearly; it was a crushing blow to her when she had received word from his family that he had been killed. His mother had sent over some of his things to her to have since she knew that they two where to be married shortly after his return. She looked to see her father walking towards her. The only thing that reminded them of the war was the cane he used to walk with, his only injury during the war.
She let her father lead her to the grave that was marked
BELOVED WIFE and MOTHER
" Do you think she's at peace?"
" Yes Isabelle I do." Kevin said touching his daughter’s cheek wiping away a stray tear.
“ It’s good then.”
“ Yes it is. Come let’s go home.” Kevin said leading his daughter back to the buggy. Kevin helped Isabelle into the buggy and then climbed in behind her. He urged the horses on and drove them back to their home. He wasn’t sure if he could even call it home anymore. Most of the land had been burned during the war and the house nearly distroyed. He cast a side glance at his daughter and could nearly recall the war……..
Kevin walked threw the fields of his large plantation, oddly for something so large he didn’t have many servants dealing with the harvest, just a select few he had kept cause they were close to his daughter. She had grown to like the slaves that worked on the plantation grew up with many of them. He smiled as he saw Isabelle come running from the house as her beau James followed closely behind.
“ FATHER!” She shouted as she got closer. Kevin turned and scooped her smaller form up into his arms.
“ What?” He asked trying to stifle a laugh.
“ James asked me to marry him.” She said with a huge smile.
“ I heard, James and I spoke this morning.” Kevin said kissing her cheek.
“ Really now?” Isabelle said with a sly grin as her father set her down. James smiled and pulled her small figure into his arms.
“ Yes it’s proper for me to ask your father for your hand before I do so.” He said with a smile. Isabelle pulled him close and kissed him sweetly.
“ I love you.” Isabelle said quietly as she pulled out of his arms and ran towards the large house. Kevin shook his head and laughed. Some days he wondered if his daughter was 18 or not.
“ Hello Ethan” Kevin said looking at the young boy that stopped in front of him.
“ Hello Master Kevin.” He said with a smile. Kevin ruffled the young boy’s hair and then headed towards the house. Ethan watched Kevin disappear into the large house before he tore off to play.
Kevin walked into the large house and smiled. He could hear his daughter giggling and knew she was happy. It was a brisk summer evening and he wanted to see if his wife was feeling up to venturing out for an evening ride. He walked up the stairs and stopped at the door. He slowly opened it and looked inside.
“ Kris.” He said walking into the room. Kristin looked up at him and smiled, she didn’t look as pale this time.
“ Yes dear?” She said looking at him.
“ Would you feel up to joining me for a night ride?” He asked sitting on the edge of the bed. He knew that she was ill and some days she felt better than others did, but he had hoped he hadn’t lost her yet.
“ I do feel all right today. I would like that.” Kristin said holding her arms out to him. Kevin scooped her small body into his arms. He remembered when she had been able to walk on her own, but this sickness had robbed her of that. He looked towards the picture that hung on the mantle above the fireplace. A recent picture painted to remember their happy family. Kristin was seated with Kevin standing directly behind her and Isabelle seated to her left. They looked so happy, but he knew that soon they wouldn’t be happy. Kevin walked outside and placed Kristin into the buggy and placed the small blanket over her legs. He then climbed into the buggy next to her and urged the horses on.
They had rode for nearly an hour. Kevin looked down at Kristin and had noticed she had lay her head against his shoulder and her eyes where closed. He smiled, thinking the ride had been good for her and that she was just tired. He turned the buggy around and headed back for his home. He could see fire out in the far fields and had been told that the war had started and had hopped it would stay away from his home. Urging the horses on further to find out what was going on he found that his field was on fire.
“ Damn it.” Kevin said pulling the horses to a stop and jumping from the buggy, he hadn’t even bothered to check on his wife as he dove in to the field following several of the workers. The fire was contained to a small area of the field but he was still angry that anyone had dared to start the field on fire. James stood covered in soot looking at Kevin.
“ I am not sure what happened I saw the fire from the porch.” He said looking at him.
“ I saw it on my way back from a ride with my wife. Where is Isabelle?” Kevin asked looking around.
“ I made her stay at the house.” James said.
“ Alone?” Kevin said looking towards the house.
“ Yeah. Well Martha was with her.”
“ We are at war. Yankees are here don’t leave her alone for a second.”
“ Mr. Richardson she’s fine I can see her from here.” James said calmly. He pointed towards the house and there stood Isabelle and Martha. Kevin nodded and turned towards the buggy. He had a feeling in the pit of his stomach something was wrong. He ran towards it with James hot on his heals wonder what was wrong.
“ Kris.” Kevin said touching his wife’s face. She was cold to the touch.
“ NO! Damn it NO!” Kevin said pulling her limp form into his arms. He touched her face and moved her hair, she had looked better when they had left the house but now she was gone. He could see she wasn’t breathing, maybe this is what she wanted, one last night out with him. Kevin held her close as tears slipped down his cheeks.
“ Isabelle.” Kevin said looking at James. “ Don’t let her come down here.”
“ I wont. I am so sorry about your loss.” James said as he tore off towards the house. Isabelle saw her father standing near the buggy and wondered what was going on as she had started walking towards him. James met her half way.
“ No.” James said guiding her back towards the house. Isabelle looked over her shoulder towards her father.
“ What’s going on?”
“ Nothing.” James lied.
Kevin sat there on the ground holding his dead wife close to his body. It had been well over an hour since he had discovered she had passed. George had long since sent one of the stable hands to fetch the doctor but by now there was nothing the doctor could do for his master’s wife. Kevin looked up with tears in his eyes as the undertaker pulled up in his dark buggy.
“ Kevin, she’s gone.” The doctor told him. Kevin refused to release his hold on his wife.
“ Kevin, its time.” The undertaker said sadly reaching down for Kristin’s prone form.
“ She can’t be gone.” Kevin said sadly.
“ I’m sorry but she is.” The doctor said as he finally got Kevin to release his hold on his wife. The undertaker took Kristin and placed her into the buggy. He would have her ready for the funeral that would follow that day.
“ Kevin, you must be strong. Someone must tell Isabelle her mother is gone.”
“ Thank you Henry.” Kevin said looking at the doctor.
“ Kevin we are friends. You know that if there had been anything I could have done I would have. But she was already gone.”
“ I know. I must tell my daughter her mother has left us.” Kevin said walking mindlessly back towards the house.
“ George take the horses back to the stable and put away the buggy.” Henry said looking at the older black man.
“ Yes sir.” George said leading the horses back to the stable. Henry watched his friend walk back into his large home as he decided he best follow unsure of how Isabelle would react to the news of her mothers death.
“ NO!” Isabelle cried as he entered the foyer. She looked wide-eyed at Henry as he entered the house.
“ Why? Why couldn’t you save her?” She shouted.
“ There was nothing that could be done your mother knew she was dying and knew her time was coming soon. Miss Isabelle calm down.” Henry said raising his hands trying to calm Isabelle. Isabelle collapsed in tears in James’s arms as he held her close. Kevin watched his daughter and knew that she would understand someday, maybe even he would understand why someday why a merciful god would take his love away. Kevin wiped a stray tear away from his face and placed his hands on Isabelle’s shoulders.
“ Shush now, she’s in a better place.” Kevin said trying to convince her that everything was all right.
“ I want her here. I wanted her here for my wedding.” Isabelle sobbed. Kevin took his daughter from James and held her close.
“ I know. But I will be there and she’ll be watching from heaven.” He said.
“ It’s not the same.” Isabelle sobbed she was inconsolable as she finally broke from Kevin’s grasp and ran up the stairs and slamming her bedroom door.
It would be nearly two days before Kevin could coax his daughter from her room. The same sparkle that had once been in her blue eyes as gone, she looked sad and lonely. And it was only going to get worse. Earlier that morning James had arrived with sad news. Telling Isabelle that their wedding would be on hold until his return from the war nearly broke her heart. She cried more than she had when she was told of her mother’s death. Jame’s left the house knowing he would not return for a long time. Kevin finally convinced Isabelle that a nice walk in the fall air would do her some good. He promised he would walk with her and held her hand as they walked the plantation finally coming to the family plot where they stood silently.