How are you? Is it snowing where you are? It is here, and it looks lovely with the sunshine sparkling on it. The trees bend beneath the snow’s weight, the pond is frozen, and the air is cold. I am all right, though. Miss Anne and her family are treating me kindly—but I wish I could be back at our home with you. I visited our house yesterday, and it looks terribly lonely with the windows closed up and the snow covering the roof. It almost made me cry. I hope you can come home soon, Papa, so we can live in it again. I want to see the sunlight dancing through the windows, onto the floors and tables and chairs and people, like it always did when Mama was alive. It feels as if there hasn’t been any sunshine in my life since she died. I miss her, and you, Papa.
I think I know how our home feels—lonely, with no one to take care of you. Oh Papa, I know you must fight in this war, and I do know that it is important that we win against the British, and I am so very very proud of you—but I can’t help missing you, especially now. I wish the war could be over and you could come home. When you first went away, Mama would hug me and tell me to stay strong. She liked to say, ‘Everyone must be brave during a war, Sarah; the men in the army and the women who stay home to take care of their houses and families. We must keep everything tidy at home so that Papa can be away. And most importantly, we must be brave so that Papa is brave.’
Now, though, I feel as if I don’t know how to be brave. I used to think of how this would be my first Christmas without you and I didn’t know how I would be strong, but then I would remember that Mama would be with me and she would help me be strong. But now she is gone, Papa, and this will be my first Christmas without you or Mama. I don’t know what to do, Papa. My chest hurts when I think of Mama—gone, forever—and you—far, far away, in danger. I just want Mama to come back and you to come home. Do you think the war will be over soon? I can’t bear to think of spending this Christmas without you!
I cannot write much longer. Miss Anne wants me to practice my sewing again. In answer to your questions, Mary and I are no longer angry at each other; I apologized for my unkind words, as you told me to, and she said she was also sorry. We are friends again.
I am still visiting Miss Rachel, as I promised Mama I would. She is sick again, Papa. I feel sorry for her; she seems to always be sick or hurting or sad, and I don’t understand why. She says she likes it when I visit, though, and that I cheer her up. I do want to cheer her up. Do you think my visits help, Papa?
Miss Anne says that when I am grown I will look like Mama. I hope she is right. I want to look like Mama and be like her more than anyone else in the world.
When you come back, Papa, I will be ready for you. I will have spent months cooking, cleaning, sewing, and learning how to care for a house, so that I can take care of our home when we open it up again. Then, maybe, there will be sunshine in our lives again.
I miss you, Papa, and I love you.
I miss you too, daughter. Yes, it is snowing where I am, and cold, but do not worry. I am as well as I can be. I am glad you are safe with Miss Anne and her family. They say you are a very good girl; Miss Anne sent me a note with your letter, telling me how obedient you have been. You don’t know how proud that makes me feel, Sarah. I know it is hard to be alone, especially at Christmas. I wish your Mama was still alive, and I miss her very much, too.
I know it is hard to be brave, Sarah. But often in life we must do what is hard, because the only things worthwhile come after the struggle. Right now, I am fighting in a hard war so that you and your children and their children can be free. Right now, you are fighting in a hard war against discouragement and sorrow and fear. Both of us are fighting, but we must both be brave, like Mama said. And one day, we will overcome these troubles. One day the clouds will part and the sunshine return, Sarah; even if it’s dark and stormy now, the sun will come out again.
I know you can’t understand all of this now, Sarah, but one day you will; and until then, remember that I love you and I’m proud of you. I wish I could see you again—see how much you’ve grown, gaze into your eyes that look just like your Mama’s, hug you, talk to you—but I cannot. We must give up what we want for what our world needs, even if it means spending Christmas apart, as we will have to this year; the war will not end soon, I’m afraid.
I am glad you and Mary are friends again. There are enough broken friendships in the world right now, and I do not want you to break another over a silly little thing.
Your visits do help Miss Rachel; she told me so before I left. She says it’s hard to be a widow, and with her son working all day she is often lonely. Your visits are a bright spot in her life.
Miss Anne is right. You do look like your Mama, and I am sure the similarities will only increase as you grow up. When I come back, I know you will take good care of our home.
I love you, Sarah. I know it is hard to be brave, but you are a strong girl. Don’t give up, Sarah; be courageous, show kindness, and love those around you. The world needs every bit of love we can spare.
I think of you every day, Sarah. Merry Christmas, my sweet girl. I love you.
“When our women fail in courage shall our men be fearless still?” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside
I’m so glad to be publishing again, especially since I haven’t shared a fiction piece in almost a year! This is the first of a few fiction stories I have planned for this December. They each are centered around something I've been thinking a lot about recently, and that is how, even though Christmas is such a joyous time that we call the most wonderful time of the year, there are a lot of people who are hurting at Christmas time. For some people, the pain they've been feeling during the year is only sharpened during the holidays.