This was a very sweet story, Tracy. The empty place left behind in the Cartwrights' hearts and lives by Marie's death was a place not easily filled. It would be hard on Hoss, seeing his brothers crying and Ben always sad. Adam did the best he could for them, but at only thirteen, that's a burden for any child, boy or girl. I'm glad he tried his best to cheer up Pa.
I think my two favorite parts are these:
“Son,” Ben whispered, his eyes glowing as he looked into the sweet face of his middle son, “anything you’ve made will always make me smile.”
"...Happy that I have Adam. Happy that I have Little Joe. And happy that I have my sweet Hoss and the beautiful masterpiece he drew on his slate.”
Thank you, littlejoenice, for reading and commenting. I'm pleased you enjoyed the story.