Sissy was crying again. She didn’t want to cry, but the warm, wet tears kept sliding down her cheeks. Ever since Pa had died last winter, she found herself crying almost every time she was alone.
Today she had run home from the little pioneer church and climbed into the hayloft. It was the Sunday before Easter, and her Primary lesson had been about the Resurrection. Sister Nelson had reminded the class that when people we love die, we can be comforted knowing that they will live again and that we can be with them at some future time. Sissy knew that Sister Nelson was speaking especially to her and was trying to be kind, but her teacher just didn’t understand! What good is it to think about resurrection when I need Pa right now? she thought.
Sissy had been very close to her father. Pa had always said that she was special. He called her his “own little angel right from heaven.” The tears rolled down her cheeks, and she cried, “Oh, Pa, why did you have to die? How can I ever be happy again?”
Her thoughts were interrupted by her brother Joe’s husky voice calling her from the barn door. “Sissy! Sissy, are you in here?”
“I’m coming, Joe,” Sissy said slowly as she dried her tears and began to climb down.
Joe stood at the bottom of the ladder; he lifted her off the rungs, swung her around, and gently set her down. “What’s the matter, Sis?” he asked as he bent his tall frame over and looked into her reddened eyes. “Has it been raining in the hayloft again?”
Sissy gave him a little smile and held his hand as they left the barn. She loved Joe. He was kind and gentle, like Pa, and Sissy knew he understood her sorrow and loneliness. She wondered if he still missed Pa too. She hadn’t thought about that before. Joe always seemed so strong and sure of everything.
“Joe,” Sissy said, stopping suddenly, “what do you do when you feel sad and lonely without Pa around?”
Joe walked slowly over to the cottonwood tree and sat down. Sissy sat down beside him. He was quiet for a moment and seemed to be studying the daffodils that Pa and Sissy had planted last spring. Then he looked up into Sissy’s eyes and spoke softly. “Missing Pa is natural and will probably last all our lives, Sissy. But when I’m sad, I try to get busy doing something that I know would make Pa happy. You see, I know that someday I’m going to see Pa again, and I want to be the kind of man he always wanted me to grow up to be. Somehow that seems to take my mind off my sad thoughts and put it on the happy thoughts of how proud I can make Pa when I see him again.”
Sissy thought about Joe’s words as he got up and headed toward the woodpile. She knew that Pa would be sad to think that the only thing she did when she thought of him was cry. Maybe if she tried Joe’s plan, it would work for her too. She wrinkled her forehead as she tried to think of something to do that would make Pa happy and proud of her.
In a minute Sissy was on her feet, running to catch up with Joe. “Joe,” she asked, filling her arms with kindling, “do you think we could take some daffodils over to Sister Harding this afternoon? I noticed she wasn’t at church today, so maybe she would like a little visit. We could take over some of those good molasses cookies too!”
Joe gave her a quick smile and a gentle squeeze and nodded his head. “That’s the best idea I’ve heard in a long time,” he said.
Later, as Sissy gathered the flowers, she found herself thinking about Pa and smiling for the first time in a long while. She could almost see Pa smiling too!