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#2278: Willa Cather to Meta Schaper Cather, [March to April 10, 1942]

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Dear Sister1;

About the last sad query in your letter of Tuesday.

In Douglas'3 case I could give a definite statement. He chanced to say here one night when Mary Virginia4 Edith5 and I were all present that whatever happened to him he did not want to be sent back to Red Cloud6.

Myself, I would not wish to be placed in a chamber of a California7 Necropolis8. I would prefer the ground. But that is merely a matter of personal taste. Often I swing toward cremation. In this case, your wishes and preferances and yours only should decide everything.

When I was with you both last summer9 (Oh, that happy, happy time!) I could see how closely you two had grown together all through the year.

Roscoe10 was frail even then, and you were like a second physical body to him. You continually supplemented his bodily weakness, without humilating humiliating him by calling attention 2 to the fact that you were doing so. It made me so happy to see that. Even as a little boy he was terribly shy about letting any playmate see him when he was ill. He always seemed to feel that he was at fault for being sick, whereas I usually (not always) wanted all the sympathy I could get.

If only I could have shared this trial11 with him, as when we had scarlet fever and diphtheria together, he would have more able to bear his half and I would have been spared this bitterness and unhappiness. I could always stand up to bodily ills so much better than I could face heartache. I suppose that is true of almost everyone, but I feel it especially just now.

Please feel that you are not alone there, dear Meta. I think I am more there than here. I still have a little temperature12, and that, I find, releases one's mind a little from the spot one occupies and the moment of present time. It also makes one 3 write rather incoherently, but you will understand that. I am not "out of my head." The question you asked me in you letter of Tuesday, I have answered after careful deliberation and, I hope, answered clearly. Do not heed this one or that one. Follow your own wishes unhesitatingly, for you may be sure they would be Roscoe's own.

Lovingly Willie

Yours is the harder lot, my friend. Oh, unconsciousness is a blessed thing, when the odds are so against one.

Edith begs me to give you her love and understanding. When I got sick she "rose up". We have the same excellent and sympathetic housekeeper13 we had last year. Edith is now over in the Park for a little basking in the sunlight of the first fair day we have had in three weeks