Chapter 8

Written by: Donna McTavish

Dearest One,


I have often thought of you, innocent child of the future, these past months. In the absence of any confidante or friend, I turn to these pages to unburden my heart and it brings solace to my troubled mind to write to you. I pray that you will not think ill of me when you hear what has transpired since I wrote to you last.


I am resolved to be truthful even as the words break my heart. Dr Hanley has died. There, I have said it. In the end it was a peaceful death but the horror of watching the light of this dear man fade away haunts me still. God be thanked, his pain was shortlived. Sarah and I visit him daily in the tiny graveyard overlooking the harbour. We pick flowers and she sings the sweet little rhymes that he taught her and together we say a prayer.


It has been a difficult time since Hanley’s death. He was not able to fight as he had wanted but he applied his intellect to help those who could and that gave him some comfort. Unrest continues in this devilish place and in my present situation as a widow and a mother I would feel vulnerable if it were not for Taine. Are you shocked dear one? I confess to a feeling akin to shock myself but I am comforted and made strong in the knowledge that my life is in God’s hands.


Taine was there under the trees some distance from the place we laid Hanley to rest. I saw his outline silhouetted against the concrete grey sky, it was a cold and dreary day, but we did not speak then nor for many weeks afterwards. One day when I was returning home with Sarah he was, most unusually, at the gate to my house. We exchanged greetings and I felt the warmth of a flush creep upwards from my neck until my cheeks were burning. If he noticed, he did not show it. He directed his attention to little Sarah and made her giggle and then was gone. 


As I think of that encounter, and the many since that time, I feel something that I never felt with dear Hanley. Taine has promised to look after Sarah and me. It is my fervent wish to let him do so. Of course, the other pakeha families have been incredulous, even disgusted, and some of the women turn from me with horror when I greet them, but I am determined to follow my heart. We depart for Wairoa tomorrow at daybreak. 


I leave nothing behind that I will miss, except for dear Mrs Dunstan, and I go forward into a future bright with hope.Whatever is in store for me I will live true to myself as a woman. I have found the man I love and will live with him by my side. I wish nothing but the same for you dear one.