Grown Up Too Soon

A mass of people in black were crowded in our living room. A closed casket sat in the back. Even though the lid was down, I knew who lay within: Private Emory McLeod, my father…

My ma had ordered the casket be closed ‘cause she couldn’t stand the sight o’ him in his deathly cold state. She also told us that she hadn’t wanted us to remember him like that, but as the brave soldier and good man that he was.

Bein’ a young girl, the rest of the family kept telling me it was okay to cry for my loss, that it must have hurt somethin’ awful and that I should let it all out or I might explode. But I refused. Also bein’ the oldest, I had to set a good example for my little brother and sister. All three of us sat beside the casket. Little Mary was cryin’ her eyes out, and Isaiah looked like he was about to burst. I just held them because I couldn’t muster up words of comfort. The pain of losing my pa hurt so bad I couldn’t speak. But I had to be the strong one, because no one else looked like they could be.

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