The following letter was written by Caroline Coffee Ware (McDavitt) to her husband Basil McDavitt, Jr. just prior to her death.
Caroline was born 26 February 1817 in Maury County, Tennessee and died on 9 January 1857 after having nine children born to them.
When this shall reach your eyes, Dear—some day when you are turning over the relics of the past, I shall have passed away forever, and the cold white stone will be keeping its lonely watch over lips you have so often pressed, and the sod will be growing green that shall hide forever from your sight the dust of one who has so often nestled close to your heart. For many long and sleepless nights, when all my thoughts were at rest, I have wrestled with the consciousness of approaching death, until at last it has forced itself on my mind. Although to you and to others it might seem but the nervous imagination of a girl, yet, dear–, it is so many weary hours have I passed in the endeavor to reconcile myself to leaving you, whom I love so well, and this bright world of sunshine and beauty; and hard indeed is it to struggle on silently and alone, with the sure conviction that I am about to leave forever and go down alone into the dark valley. But I know in whom I have trusted and leaning upon his arm, “I fear no evil”. Don’t blame me for keeping even all this from you. How could I subject you of all others to such a sorrow as I feel at parting, “from you” when time soon make it apparent to you? I could have wished to live, if only to be at your side when your time shall come, and pillow your head upon my breast, wipe the death damps from your brow, and commend your departing spirit to its Maker’s presence, embalmed in woman’s holiest prayer. But it is not to be so and I submit, Yours is the privilege of watching, through long and dreary nights for the spirits final flight and of transferring my sinking head from your breast to my Savior’s bosom! And you shall share my last thought, the last faint pressure of my hand, and the last feeble kiss shall be yours. We may write our names in albums, We may trace them in the sand, We may chisel them in marble, With a firm and skillful hand. But these pages soon are yellowed, Soon each name will fade away, Every monument will crumble, And all earthly hope decay. But, my friend, there is an album, Full of leaves of snowy white, Where no name is ever tarnished, But forever pure and bright. In the Book of Life, God’s album, May your name be penned with care, And may all who here have written, Write their names forever there. May happiness ever be thy lot, Where ever thou shall be. And joy and pleasure light the spot, That may be home to thee. Could I but have my wish for thee, Thy life from sorrow would be free, Thy face with burning smiles are spread, And blessing rest upon thy head. Thy footsteps lead to pastures green, By living water—all unseen, Except by faith’s untiring eye, To guide thee to thy home on high. And even when flesh and heart shall have failed me, my eyes shall rest on yours until glazed by death, and our spirits shall hold one last communion, until gently fading from my view, the last of earth, you shall mingle with the first bright glimpses of the unfading glories of that better world, where partings are unknown. Well do you know the spot Dear—where you will lay me! Often have we stood by the place, as we watched the mellow sunset, as it glanced to quivering flashes through the leaves.