James A. Garfield
Letter to his wife | Letter from his wife
The following letter is Crete Garfield's reply to James Garfield's letter of December 6, 1863.
Hiram, December 6, 1863
My Dear Precious Husband:
I have just come from kneeling beside the bed where our little one breathed out her life. I have asked of Our Father a more perfect resignation of spirit to this great sorrow which has fallen upon our lives so heavily, and I hope that He has given it to me-to us both. I hope, dear Jamie, that you are trying to look up, through tears though it be, to our Savior's face and from His words of comfort gathering peace to your soul, and a larger strength to do well the work of life. These words have been much in my heart today: "The Father chasteneth whom He loveth," and the thought has come to me that not only has He honored us in giving us to keep awhile a little nature so pure and noble but that he also loves us so well that He will make surer our clinging to Him by taking our cherished one to Himself, that where our treasure is, there may our hearts be also. There have been, Oh, such sad strange days that I fear there have been in my heart questionings and doubts which were almost wrong: but I hope God is lifting my spirit out from the shadow and that I am gaining a hold on a larger truer life, and I trust it is so with you, my dear one. Surely we can be thankful for this at least that we have come to be so much nearer and dearer to each other, that our love has been made so perfect through this great suffering. I feel that we need each other now as we have never before, and that we can the most truly live when near each other. Still I submit to whatever seems best and will try patiently and faithfully "to labor and to wait." My dear Jamie, you do not know the large place you won in my heart by your gentle care and attention when at home. It surprised me and made me love you so tenderly to see you taking care of our little girl, and watching beside her so gently: and so much dearer is our home now for the notice and care you took of it. I have almost feared that your heart was so saddened by the loss of our darling that you would dread to return here, and that our home would have little attaction for you now: but I hope it is not so. To me it is now a holy place, and I want it to be so to you. I do not feel like writing more now; but we will write to each other very often and live very near each other. I did not write yesterday as I promised since a letter would not go until tomorrow.
I have almost feared that your heart was so saddened by the loss of our darling that you would dread to return here, and that our home would have little attaction for you now: but I hope it is not so.
That you may be blessed and kept good and noble and true is the prayer of your loving trusting little wife, Crete.
P.S. Commencing with the 13th verse of 1st Thessalonians, 4th Chapt. Read through to the close of the Epistle. I find there much to comfort and strengthen my heart. Crete.
[The above letter is reproduced exactly as written and was obtained through the archives at the Library of Congress]