All Through the Night (by bahj)


Summary: Left alone once again to pick up the pieces, Ben struggles to move forward after Marie’s death, and finds comfort in the words to an old song.

Rating K (1050 words)



All Through the Night

“Star of faith, the dark adorning,
all through the night
leads us fearless t’wards the morning
all through the night.
Though our hearts be wrapt in sorrow
from the hope of dawn we borrow
promise of a glad tomorrow
all through the night.”

Ben Cartwright walked softly down the hall toward his youngest son’s bedroom. He had a suspicion of what he would find and he was not disappointed. Little Joe was curled up in a ball in the middle of his bed, his blankets lay in a heap on the floor beside him. Even in sleep the vivacious young boy was never still. He picked up the blankets and gently laid them over his son, then sitting on the edge of the bed he spent a few moments just watching his little chest rise and fall. Reaching out he smoothed back the unruly brown curls and smiled as his son gave a soft sigh. Just a few hours ago the five-year-old had had a tantrum and it had taken over an hour to calm him. Joe was too young to understand the pain he was feeling over his mother’s death and tended to react to those feelings with anger, taking it out on those around him.

Ben could understand anger. The temptation to lash out was there for him also and he’d had to rein himself in on many an occasion in the few short months since his wife’s death.

“I love you, Joseph,” he whispered before getting up to leave.

He made his way to his middle son’s room next. For once, the over-sized eleven-year-old wasn’t snoring. Ben made his way over to the bed and again took a seat. His two youngest boys were sound sleepers and he had no fear of waking them with his slight movements. A bit of moonlight shone through the window and Ben could see the traces of tears on Hoss’ face. He thought back to the conversation they’d had just a short time ago.

“Pa, are you gonna leave me too?” The tremble in his son’s voice had broken his heart.

“Son, when you truly love someone, they never leave you.” He’d held Hoss to him, letting him cry out his fears.

He understood fear for he himself had been terrified to try and face life without his beloved at his side. Looking down at his son, he prayed that God would always let him be there for his boys.

“I love you, Hoss,” he said as he gently laid a hand on his son’s cheek.

Seeing the light coming from under the door of his oldest son’s room he rapped lightly.

“Come in,” was the soft answer.

Ben opened the door and saw Adam sitting on his bed, a book in hand.

“It’s getting late, son,” he said crossing the room.

“I know Pa,” Adam answered. “I just wanted to finish this last part.”

Ben moved toward the bed and Adam scooted over to make room for him to sit. Ben gazed for a moment into the face of the man his little boy had become. In a few short weeks Adam would be leaving for college and Ben’s heart ached at the thought. But even now he could see the hope and excitement dancing in his oldest son’s eyes.

He understood hope. It was what he clung to so desperately during each and every day.

“Pa, are you sure it’s alright?” Adam asked softly, his eyes pleading.

“I’m sure, son,” he answered placing a hand on Adam’s shoulder, “It’s time for you to follow your dreams. Your brothers and I will miss you, but we’ll be fine.”

“Thanks, Pa,” he replied.

Ben fought to keep his voice even as he spoke, “I love you, Adam.”

Back in his room Ben stared at the bed he had shared with the woman he loved. He was so tired but just as he’d done every night since her death, he headed for the rocking chair by the window. He took the worn letter from where he’d left it on the sill and held it to his chest. He didn’t need to read the words for they had been imprinted upon his heart.


As I sit here watching you sleep I am overwhelmed with the love I feel for you.
The words to this old song give expression to what I’m feeling much better than I ever could.

“While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O’er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.”

All my love, Marie

Ben had found the letter under his pillow. It had been written the night before she had left this earth. He clutched it tightly to him, breathing in the scent of her that still lingered on the paper. After a few moments, he took the letter over to his desk and added another verse of the song.

“Love, to thee my thoughts are turning
All through the night
All for thee my heart is yearning,
All through the night.
Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There’s a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night.”

All my love, Ben

Setting down his pen, he took up the letter and placed it under her pillow then, stepping to the window once more, he gazed up at a starry sky. One particular star seemed to twinkle extra brightly and he knew she’d received his message.

“I love you, Marie,” he said and blew out the lamp.

As he fell asleep that night, he could almost hear her sweet voice singing softly to him.

“Sleep my love and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will lend thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.”
All Through the Night – An ancient Welsh folk song, the English lyrics were written by Harold Boulton.

3 thoughts on “All Through the Night (by bahj)”

  1. A solemn story, that truly fits the mood of the folk song. For without hopes and dreams, there would be nothing.

    Thank you for sharing.

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