My momma died today. It wasn't unexpected as she had been sick for a long while before. She told me not to be sad, that she would watch over me from Heaven. I'm trying not to be sad, but it's hard. Daddy isn't helping matters. He has locked himself in his study and refuses to come down. He said he has to pack for a trip. I hope he comes out soon. I want him to sit on his big chair and hold me close like he used to.
I hear a knock on my door. "Come in," I say quietly. My nurse, Mary Ellen, peaks her head in. She looks at me, her face full of sadness. "Come here, child," she said, and she holds her arms out. "Come let me hold you."
I get up from my window seat and run into her arms. As I bury my head in her soft hair she rocks me. "Oh, Eleanor," she says, stroking my white blond hair, "It'll be alright. Don't cry child, it'll be alright."
I let her hold me and rock me and I feel a little better. Mary Ellen always makes me feel better. She takes my face in her hands and wipes my tears away. She gives me a small smile and I give a watery one in return. She hugs me tightly then stands up strait. "Come with me, Ella darling."
I put my hand in hers and we leave my dark room and walk down the stairs. "Where are we going?" I ask in a small voice. She squeezes my hand and says "The orchard. We are going to plant a tree."
She leads me through the house and into the kitchen and we get a small watering can, then go through the service door beside the ovens.
It's warm outside and I hear birds chirping in the trees. The cherry trees are in full bloom and the blossoms smell delicious. Mary Ellen leads me through the trees deep into the orchard. We stop in a small clearing and she takes a small seed and a little trowel out of her apron and hands them to me. We kneel and begin to dig a small hole in the soft earth. When the hole is deep enough, I drop the seed in and we gently smooth it over. She hands me the watering can and I sprinkle water over the freshly dug earth. We stand up and brush our dresses off and she takes my hand again. She looks down at me and smiles. I smile back and we walk back to the house.