Farewell (by Starlite)

Summary: Adam deals with the loss of two of the most important people in his life.

Rated:  G (5,600 words)

 

Farewell

Adam Cartwright stepped down into the sodden mud of the yard.  He looked down as his boots squished while he led his horse over to the corral and tied the rein to the fence railing.  Leaning against the railing with arms folded over the top rail, Adam surveyed the landscape that was his own.

The land and trees that adorned it were different than the ones of his younger days, yet at the same time so similar. As he had so many times in recent days, Adam felt melancholy over the passage of time and the vast distance between his home and the Ponderosa.

As his mind began to drift, Adam recalled the last time he’d been home.  He’d been married less than a year and was bringing his wife and newborn son home to meet his family.  He was also more than a little miffed over Hoss forgetting to meet them in Carson City as promised.

Pulling into the yard Adam noticed several buggies and wagons.  He was a little confused by all the people that were obviously at the house.  Only Hoss knew that he was coming and even he’d apparently forgotten.  Adam hoped that Hoss hadn’t planned some type of party to welcome him home.  Shrugging off his curiosity, Adam jumped down from the surrey and grimaced as his boots sunk into the wet muddy ground.

Trudging carefully, he rounded the buggy and carefully helped his wife down, their son in her arms.  Kissing her cheek tenderly, he smiled broadly before placing an arm around her shoulders and guiding her to the front door, where he froze.

Even though this was the home of his youth, a house that he himself had helped design and build, it felt awkward to just open the door and walk right in.  But he was equally uncertain of the idea to knock upon the broad door.

Seeing her husband’s hesitancy, Adam’s wife smiled.

“Well, will we be going in?  Or will we be staying on the porch?”  She inquired with a definite Irish lilt.

“Huh?  Oh yeah, sure.”  Adam answered, finally making up his mind.

He grasped the door handle, opened it confidently and stepped inside with one arm still wrapped tightly about his wife for reassurance.

He stopped abruptly as he took in the scene before him.  People milled about quietly in the large room.  Most of them Adam neither knew nor recognized.  He sought out familiar faces, hoping for a clue to understand the scene before him.

He found his little brother Joe standing by the stairs, quietly talking to a curly redheaded young man.  He chuckled as he saw all the silver in Joe’s hair, and couldn’t understand how his father had allowed him to let it grow that long.  He surmised that the redhead must be his adopted baby brother Jamie that the family had described to him in their letters.

Scanning the room for his father, he found the man sitting in what was once his favorite blue chair.  His father looked tired and his hair was almost completely white, Adam noted.  He vaguely recognized the older men who stood next to the chair as being the family doctor Paul Martin and the former sheriff of Virginia City, Roy Coffee.  While Adam studied his father from across the room, he watched as his father’s eyes lifted and met his.

Ben saw a different but not unfamiliar figure standing in the doorway.  For a moment he thought he was seeing his wife Elizabeth’s father standing there.  Squinting, his heart leapt as he recognized his firstborn son.

“Adam!”  Ben exclaimed as he quickly rose from his chair and rushed across the room.

“Pa.”  Adam replied when his father reached him, taking him into his arms in a warm embrace.

Adam didn’t even notice that his other two brothers had rushed over to him, until he felt Joe’s tearful embrace.

“Hey Little brother.”  Adam soothed hoping to quell the tears streaming down Joe’s face.

“Ahem.”  A very feminine voice cleared her throat behind Adam and smiled broadly at the warm reception of her husband.  Just then the squalling of a small infant abruptly interrupted the homecoming.

“Oh, honey.  I’m so sorry.”  Adam apologized then kissed his wife sweetly.  Turning back to his father, he introduced his family.

“Pa, Joe.  This is my wife Mary and our son Adam Jr., or AJ for short.”  Adam beamed proudly.

Ben Cartwright was speechless as he took in the lovely woman and child before him.  One of his sons had finally married and presented him with a grandchild.

“It’s about time.”  Ben teased as he turned back to his son and shot him a slightly amused glare.  He hugged the woman warmly and kissed her upon the forehead.  “Welcome to the Cartwright family, Mary.  May I?”  He asked with outstretched hands to the infant that Mary held in her arms.

Smiling sweetly at her new father-in-law, Mary passed her son to the man with the warm inviting face.  Her husband was right, she instinctively knew Ben Cartwright was a good man.

Little Joe smiled broadly at his oldest brother, still unable to speak.  He offered his hand in congratulations.
Adam took his brother’s hand and shook it warmly then clasped his other arm around his brother’s shoulders.

“So, when did you get so gray?”  Adam teased as he ruffled Joe’s hair.

“At least I still have hair!”  Joe retorted playfully as he patted the top of Adam’s baldhead before Adam swatted his hand away.  “Speaking about gray…” Joe added pointing to Adam’s full salt and pepper beard.

“Touche.”  Adam acknowledged as he rubbed his hand over his chin.

After the brief interchange with Joe, Adam turned to the redheaded lad who stood awkwardly nearby.

“Hi, I’m Adam and you must be Jamie.” Adam stated reaching out his hand to the youth.

Shyly, uncertain of the older man before him, Jamie stretched out his hand in response.  He was relieved as Adam took it and shook it warmly then placed his other hand upon his right shoulder and squeezed affectionately.  Jamie felt acceptance by Adam’s loving gesture.

Ben Cartwright was cooing his new grandson and admiring his new daughter-in-law when he noticed Adam visually scanning the room.  Searching for someone.

Adam looked about the room searching for a familiar face that was missing from this reunion.  In the dining room he noticed Hop Sing standing in black pajamas beaming broadly and winked back at him.  He knew the Chinaman would not want to intrude on a private family moment and made a mental note to visit with him later.  He only gave a momentary thought to his clothes, thinking the man usually wore a light silver blue.

“Pa, where’s Hoss?”  Adam asked, confused that he wasn’t there to greet them.

The room went suddenly silent where moments before there were happy whispers and small talk as the guests took in the warm sight before them.

Adam watched his brother’s expression change to immense sadness and noticed as Little Joe’s eyes quickly darted in the direction of the downstairs guestroom.  Suddenly a sick feeling overtook Adam and he charged towards the door of the guestroom.  He heard his father yell out to him and to his brothers as he made his way to the door.

“Adam, No!  Boys stop him!”  Ben cried out in horror.

Joe grasped Adam’s arm and Jamie the other just before he reached the door.  Easily he removed Joe’s arm and turned to a very frightened Jamie who let go as well.  Slowly he turned the knob and opened the door before him.

Adam swayed at the sight he beheld, laid out upon the bed was his brother Hoss.  His little brother was dead.

Quietly, Adam stepped into the room then closed the door behind him and locked it.

Adam had no awareness of the passage of time until he heard his father’s voice through the door.

“Adam, it’s time son.”  Ben stated quietly, hoping that his eldest would allow them to enter the room.

Adam found himself on his knees next to his brother’s deathbed.  His forehead resting on his folded hands, which were placed upon the bed before him.

Without word, Adam stood and gazed upon the big man’s face, slowly he reached into his pocket and withdrew two silver dollars.  Bending over his brother’s still form, he very carefully placed a coin over each closed lid.

“Ave atque vale, frater meum multum amat in pace requietus.”  He said in a silent farewell before heading for the door.

Ben was relieved when he saw the knob turn and stepped back from the door to allow his son back into the dining room.

Somehow Adam couldn’t bring himself to look at anyone in the room when he exited the bedroom and was only vaguely aware of his wife as she came up to put her arm around him.  He felt his wife’s embrace then a gentle kiss upon his cheek as he heard her whisper ‘I’m so sorry’ into his ear.

Adam glanced over to the woman who was the love of his life and nodded.  Absently he noted that she’d changed her clothes from the dark purple traveling suit to a sedate black dress.   Adam squeezed her back, then drew her into his chest hugging her tightly for comfort and strength.

“AJ?”  Adam questioned softly, noticing that their son was not with his wife as he released her from his arms.

“A Mrs. Shaughnessy offered to watch him for us.”  Mary answered taking his hand in hers.

Adam gave a small sad smile in return while he looked to his wife.  He fondly remembered the woman and would tell his wife later that she just went by Shaughnessy, there was no Mrs.

Ben Cartwright quietly walked over to the pair and placed a comforting hand upon his eldest son’s shoulder.  He was gratified to see that Adam was now able to meet his gaze.  Quietly, the three made their way out to the yard.

Upon reaching the porch, Joe, Jamie, Doc Martin, Roy Coffee, a dark-haired man that Adam didn’t recognize and a couple of ranch hands were carrying the casket out into the yard from the outside entrance of the bedroom.  Adam quietly indicated that his wife stay with his father before he went over and assisted with putting Hoss’s casket into the horse drawn hearst.

Completing the sad task, the Cartwright sons rejoined their father before making their way over to the family surrey.  Ben informed Adam, that he and Mary would join them on the long ride out to the lake.

Ben slowly got into the front seat of the buggy beside Joe who held the reins in hand.  Jamie followed into the second row and sat behind his father with the unknown dark-haired man beside him, whom Adam now figured must be the foreman known as Candy.  Adam easily lifted his wife into the last seat and climbed up beside her.

The ride to the lake was a very quiet and somber affair, only punctuated with some small sniffles from Jamie.  Mary tried her best to comfort the young man with a reassuring pat and gentle back rub.  Mary looked over to her husband and was saddened to see a very hard and pain-filled expression chiseled upon his handsome face.  Adam seemed to stare at the passing landscape without really seeing its beauty.  If it weren’t such a horrible day, Mary would’ve been in awe at the magnificent beauty of her husband’s family land.

Reaching the lake, Mary was struck by its awesome grandeur.  Wordlessly she allowed her husband to lift her down from the buggy and escort her over to her father-in-law.  Ben Cartwright welcomed her loving embrace as Adam turned to assist his brothers with the casket.  Turning, Ben and Mary walked arm in arm towards Hoss’s final resting place.  Reaching the site of the burial, Mary looked around and found the tombstone of another grave, reading the inscription she realized it was the grave of Joe’s mother.  Somehow it was sweet that Hoss would not be alone in his slumber.

Adam walked over to the head of the casket across from his little brother.  No words were spoken as he replaced the man at the litter.  Behind him was Jamie, then Roy Coffee with Joe across from Adam on the right side of the casket, followed by Candy and Paul Martin.  Even though the litter was heavy, no man faltered in their task.

Adam rejoined his wife beside his father and bowed his head.  On the other side of their father stood Joe and Jamie with Candy behind the family next to Roy Coffee and Paul Martin.

Adam never heard the words spoken that day; his world was a blur as he went through the motions of burying his most beloved little brother.  Hoss was Adam’s best friend and confidant, the man who knew him best, even better than his father.  They had planned this surprise visit of Adam’s together and now he wasn’t even there to enjoy it.

Long after the ceremony was over, Adam still stood staring at the grave of his brother.  Somehow he couldn’t bring himself to leave Hoss out there alone.  To him, he still had a responsibility to watch over his little brother and couldn’t accept the fact that Hoss would no longer need him to fulfill that task.  Joe and Ben seeing Adam’s reluctance to leave walked back over to Adam and gently guided him back to the buggy.

Ben studied his oldest son with worry, he watched as Adam sat in the blue chair near the fireplace without really seeing and was not taking part in any of the reminiscing about Hoss.  Adam had grown very quiet and despondent since returning home after finding out that Hoss had drowned while trying to cross the swollen Carson River, because he was insistent he had to be in Carson City by the 10th.

Hearing the cause of Hoss’s demise broke Adam’s heart.  He knew the reason for Hoss’s trip even if his family didn’t, he couldn’t believe that he was the cause of such pain and grief for his father.

He recalled the last correspondence he’d sent his brother, when he playfully threatened Hoss that he’d better be in Carson City on time, or he’d turn around and head right back home.  How he regretted those words that Hoss had so obviously taken to heart.  Could his father ever forgive him for the death of his son?

Adam was drawn from his mental torture by the sound of his father’s voice.

“Huh?”  Adam questioned, uncertain of what his father had asked.

“I said, why didn’t you tell me about this lovely young lady?”  Ben repeated.  He was hoping to draw Adam out and get him to talking, believing a change of topic would be the solution.

“Well, I did kinda.”  Adam began, “Remember about a year ago when I wrote and told you I was thinking about getting married?”

“Ah hum,” Ben responded shaking his head thoughtfully, he was elated at the news, but Adam never mentioned it again.

“Well, we were married the next day.”  Adam finished quickly, hoping no one asked for more information as he saw his wife blush out of the corner of his eye.  She was sitting on a small ottoman next to his chair and holding his hand lovingly.

“The next day?”  Joe blurted out, seeing his brother and sister-in-law’s embarrassed reactions.

“Yes the next day.  You see discretion was the better part of valor.”  Adam replied, pointedly looking at Jamie and hoped he wasn’t pressed further.

Ben grunted in response and Adam saw a scowl of displeasure upon the older man’s face, before his father smiled broadly and winked to his new daughter-in-law.

Adam blushed a little as he realized the silliness of the whole situation.  He shot Little Joe a small warning glance as Joe started with that infectious cackle.  Before long, the whole room was chuckling at how long last the oldest brother finally found a wife.  He looked across the room and saw his father shaking his head dispassionately.

“But I still don’t see why you didn’t tell us, son?”  Ben questioned as the laughter faded away.

Adam grew quiet again as he began to study his wife’s fingers that he held in his hand.  Ben was beginning to wonder if Adam would respond.

“It was to be a surprise.  Hoss knew about it, I’d planned on bringing Mary home for a honeymoon.  But with the baby and all, we had to wait until after AJ was born.  I’m sorry Pa.”  Adam again quieted and turned away from the others in the room to stare at the fire in the fireplace.

“There’s no need to apologize son, I’m glad you’re home.”  Ben could sense his son’s pain and watched while Adam began to distance himself from the rest of his family.

Adam’s homecoming was bittersweet, Ben Cartwright was grateful for the return of his eldest, and his new grandson and daughter-in-law, but he wished that Hoss had been there to enjoy it.  Ben missed his large gentle natured son; somehow his loss left a large emptiness in his life that nothing and no one would ever be able to fill.

Ben found himself growing more and more concerned about his oldest son.  As the days went by, Adam withdrew even more away from the family.  He ate little and rarely slept, dark circles had become permanent fixtures beneath the eyes on his face.  He also knew that Adam still hadn’t come to terms with Hoss’s death.  Adam was fighting to keep his emotions in tack, forcing himself to not shed a single tear over the horrible loss.  Not knowing any longer how to approach his son, Ben went to Mary.

“Mary, please tell me what is wrong with Adam?”  Ben questioned as he took her hand and sat down next to her on the settee.  Adam was out helping his brothers with ranch work and he felt this was an opportune time to see what he could do to help his child.

“My husband is sick at heart, Mr. Cartwright.”  Mary replied squeezing the elder man’s hand then added.  “I’m sorry, Papa.”  She was still getting used to calling her father-in-law by such a foreign name.

“I know he’s hurting, I just don’t understand why?”  Ben almost pleaded.

Ben had observed Adam and Mary together and knew that his son was deeply in love with the woman and she with him.  He could also tell that Adam respected her and that she was probably a close confidant.

Mary looked sorrowfully at the man beside her.  She too was at a loss to help her husband.  Though she didn’t want to betray her husband’s confidence, she felt that his father was the only one who could help him now.  She looked down to the man’s hand she held and saw the fingers of a once strong hand the skin now wrinkled with age.  With a wistful smile, she looked back to the man’s pleading face and answered his question plainly.

“He blames himself for his brother’s death.”  Her voice broke.  Her Irish accent more pronounced due to her distraught state.

“What, I don’t understand.  He wasn’t even here…” Ben began to debate the ridiculousness of the statement, before Mary cut him off with a nod of her head.

“Oh, but he didn’t have to be.  Hoss was to meet us in Carson City.”  Mary stated as a matter of fact raising her eyes to stare intently into Ben’s.

Ben Cartwright closed his eyes as the dawn of reason came to him.  Yes, he could see why his son would blame himself, even when there was no blame to be placed.

“Thank you, Mary.”  Ben was so grateful that Mary had confided in him.

“No, I thank you.  I’m a very lucky woman to have married your son.”  Mary beamed with pride.

Ben looked at the lovely woman who sat beside him; he was overjoyed that his eldest son had finally found the true love of his life.  Gently kissing his daughter-in-law’s hand, he rose from the settee.  He had a great deal of thinking to do.

Ben waited until he heard Adam get up in the middle of the night and head outside.  He’d known for days that Adam had been leaving his room and was going outside to sit on the porch to stare up at the night’s sky.  Quietly he dressed to follow his son.

Adam looked up as he heard someone approach from the front door.  He’d expected to find his wife, who on many of his nightly vigils had come out to encourage him to come back inside.  He was surprised to see his father.

“Pa.”  Adam greeted his father.

“Son.  Can’t sleep?”  Ben returned the greeting.

Adam shook his head sadly in response.  He wanted to talk to his father so desperately, but he no longer knew how.

“Why Adam?”  Ben asked as he sat down on the table beside his son.

Adam turned a confused glance back to his father, uncertain what he was asking.

Seeing his son’s confusion, Ben added.

“Why do you blame yourself for Hoss’s death?”

Adam visibly shuddered and felt panic rush over him at his father’s question.  How do you tell the man who loved you and raised you, that you caused the death of another one of his children.  Adam only recently became a father and couldn’t even imagine the pain that his father was going through.  He only knew how he would feel if he were to lose AJ.

Adam could only shrug in response as he turned his eyes to his hands.  He fought to keep his emotions in check and watched as his hands began to shake.  He felt his father’s hand upon his shoulder, knowing his father expected him to look at him, but Adam kept his eyes downcast unable to meet his father’s glance.

“Don’t son.  Don’t lessen the man that Hoss was.  Don’t cheat him of his pride and the honor of who he was.”  Ben stated intently hoping that Adam was listening.

Shocked, Adam looked to his father.  He would never do that to his beloved brother.

“You would’ve been proud of the man that your brother became Adam.  He wasn’t the same overgrown boy that you knew when you left.  He was a man that I was very proud of and you should be too.”  Ben added, hoping to drill his words home.

“I was always proud of Hoss.”  Adam offered quietly, as his eyes started to become glassy with tears.  Was he being unfair to Hoss’s memory by taking on the guilt of his death and blaming himself?

“I know son, just remember that Hoss was a man too.  A man who made and was responsible for his own decisions; right, wrong or otherwise, he chose to cross the Carson that day.  The decision was his and the consequences were his and his alone.  Honor his memory Adam, grieve for him, remember him for the good things and forgive him for the bad, son.  Hold a special place in your heart for him Adam, but don’t let his passing destroy you.”  Ben guided gently, he could tell that he was finally getting through to his son.

Adam could no longer contain the flood of emotions that had been bottled up inside of him.  All the painful grief, loss and regret began to flow from him and he found himself sick to his stomach as tears began to pour down his cheeks.  Adam fled from the porch and ran to the side of the house where he began to wretch violently.

Ben went to help his eldest son.  Why did Adam’s emotions always torture him so, he worried?  Calming Adam as best he could, Ben took him by the arm and led him back into the house and over to the kitchen.

After giving his son a glass of water to rinse his mouth, Ben went over to the stove and stoked the partially banked fire.  He put a teakettle on to boil before returning to his son.

“Better?”  He asked.

Adam nodded his head slowly in response.

When Ben heard the kettle whistle, he retrieved two cups and the kettle and brought them over to the table where his son sat.  Pouring his son some tea and a cup for himself, they sat in companionable silence for several minutes before Adam finally spoke again.

Ben would always cherish the late evening with his son as he listened to Adam relate tales of his life with Hoss.  There were many things he learned that night about his middle son, but he learned even more about his firstborn.  It warmed his heart to know how much his sons loved one another, and he was filled with pride at the men that they had become.  He regretted the sun rising the next morning because with it, the night ended and the special time between father and son drew to a close.

The next weeks traveled in a blur for Ben Cartwright as Adam’s visit ended all too quickly.  Even though Adam had extended his stay by a month, the time just flew by and was now almost at an end.

Ben knew he would miss Mary and his little grandson terribly, he laughed at how AJ’s uncles tried to make the most of the remaining time left and fought over entertaining the little tyke.  But most of all, he would miss his son.  Adam’s return had lessened the pain of Hoss’s loss considerably and now Adam would leave again.  Ben understood and respected the fact that Adam had forged a life for himself and his family just like he had, and was quite proud of his son’s successes.  This time he didn’t even try to encourage Adam to stay, he just reminded him that the Ponderosa was and always would be his home.

The last night of Adam’s stay, the Cartwright men sat in the large main room and regaled each other with tales of boyhood antics, lost loves and general mischief.  Jamie laughed aloud at the image of his older brothers wrestling in a muddy road, racing horses, trying to out do each other to impress women and the matchmaking of an old maid schoolmarm with a ranch hand.

But as before, the night ended too soon and morning quickly arrived.

The buggy sat in the yard, ready and waiting for its occupants.  Adam had already sent the trunks ahead, deciding that he would make his farewells at the house and not a public display in town.

Joe and Jamie each in turn hugged then kissed Mary upon the cheek before taking a chance to hold their nephew one last time.  Ben escorted Mary and his grandson over to the buggy while Adam said farewell to his brothers.  He wanted Adam to feel free to say his good-byes to his siblings without his watchful eye.

Adam went first to Jamie, and hugged the young man.  “If you ever get tired of Joe’s bossiness, you’re always welcomed at my ranch.”  Adam teased winking over at Joe.

“Bossy, I ain’t the one who’s bossy big brother!”  Joe taunted back.

Adam gave him an exasperated ‘who me’ expression before taking his younger brother into his arms.  They held each other for several seconds; Adam was reluctant to let go as he felt Joe began to shudder with tears.

“I love you Adam.”  Joe croaked out between the tears.

“I love you too, Little Joe.”  Adam replied patting his brother on the back to calm him.

When the embrace was broken, Joe wiped his shirtsleeve across his face and turned to quickly enter the house.  Adam nodded to Jamie indicating that he should follow Joe.  Taking a deep breath, Adam turned around to make his way to the buggy.  His wife and child were already in the seat awaiting his arrival with his father standing next to his side of the buggy.

Adam went up to his father and felt his father’s strong arms encircle him.  Adam returned the embrace with all his heart.  He knew if he didn’t go soon, he would never leave.

“Always in my heart, Pa.”  Adam almost choked on the words.  He knew his father would remember them from his last departure from home.

“Always and forever in mine, Adam.  I love you son.”  Ben was almost too overcome by emotion to speak.

“I love you too Pa, I love you.”  Adam answered fighting the tears that were quickly forming.

Adam looked up to his father one last time and memorized the face he saw.  Nodding sadly, he quickly climbed into the buggy and stared straight ahead as he clucked to the horses to move down the road.

Mary looked briefly at her husband beside her and saw silent tears streaming down his face.  She chose not to embarrass her strong proud husband and pretended not to notice.  She turned her gaze to the lovely scenery, wondering if she’d ever travel to this place again.

Adam never looked back to the man he knew was standing alone in the yard watching his departure.  Adam wanted to remember his father’s face always.  Somewhere in the depth of his heart he knew he’d seen his father for the last time.

Adam was brought back to the present by the sound of his son’s voice.  He’d never even realized that his son had returned or had walked up to him.

“Here’s the correspondence Dad.”  Adam Jr. handed the mail over to his father.

Adam took the letters from his son and wistfully recalled that he always addressed his father affectionately as ‘Pa’.  But here, fathers were called ‘Dad’.

“Thank you son.”  Adam replied with a nod.

“Oh, this cablegram also came for you.”  AJ added pulling a small folded form from his front breast pocket, and passed it over to his father.

Nodding his head in silent acknowledgement, Adam took the cable from his son and felt his heart sink.  Somehow he knew what the cablegram contained.  He had felt it in his heart some days ago.  Turning, he walked away from his son, unable to speak further.

Grimacing in disgust over the filth on his boots, he started to make his way toward his home.  Stopping briefly at the door stoop, Adam knocked off the mud that clung fiercely to his boots.  Entering his residence with letters and cable in hand, Adam silently entered his study closing and locking the door behind him.

Slowly he trudged over to his large desk, laying the correspondence to one side he sat down in his leather covered chair with cable still in hand.  He sat for several minutes staring at the cable that rested in his hand upon his leg.  He dared not open and read it, dreading that his worst fear would be realized.  Turning his attention from the paper form, he glanced about the room.

The walls of his private sanctuary were lined with bookcases that extended the length and breadth of the room.  The bookcases were filled with books of every type and he’d read them all.

He smiled a small smile as he heard in his mind his father’s deep voice warning, ‘All that reading will affect your mind son!’  His father was right, it had affected him.  It had encouraged him to leave his family home and to travel the world.  Finally to settle down on a land so reminiscent of his youth on a continent half a world away.

Adam was brought abruptly back to the present, as he watched his son ride out of the yard and down towards the fields where they kept their cattle. He wondered if he’d be able to let his only son go when the time came, as his father had done for him.

It was hard for Adam to believe that it had been seventeen years since he’d seen his father.  AJ was just a baby, and Hoss had just passed away.  Though his father and he had corresponded many times about visiting one another, the rush of day to day living always seemed to get in the way.

Glancing back down to the paper in his hand, Adam attempted to strengthen his resolve to quit avoiding the inevitable.  With shaky hands he unfolded the sheet and read the words he already knew.  His father was dead.

Somehow he had known, he had sensed his father’s presence pass over a couple of days before.  In his heart he’d felt the loss of the man who had virtually raised him single-handedly since a newborn infant.

No more would he hear the strong deep resonant voice of his father as he instructed him with patient words of wisdom.  No more would there be the strong arms to embrace him and protect him from the evils of the world.  No more would there be the comforting reassurances to guide him through the trials and tribulations of life.

Adam felt his heart shatter and break like fine crystal.  He imagined that he could actually feel the small delicate pieces tinkling as they crashed into the pit of his stomach.  Putting his now heavy head onto his folded arms upon the desk, Adam bitterly wept.

The End

 

Tags: Adam Cartwright, Grief

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Author: starlite

4 thoughts on “Farewell (by Starlite)

  1. My heart ached as I felt the pain all the Cartwrights felt upon the death of Hoss. However, I felt especially bad for Adam and his family. Adam’s family never had the chance to meet Hoss. Your story made me feel as if I were there on the Ponderosa and later in Australia.

    1. I’m glad you were touched. It was an attempt to tie up all the loose threads, while providing some type of conclusion, even if it was somewhat bittersweet.

  2. Not a way to return home. Need to dry these eyes of mine. And the final calegram….he’ll find a way to continue. He’s a Cartwright, afterall.

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