LOTW 74: Grief and Friendship

By: Olivia Mund

In reading through letters in the Archives, I come across many mentions of the passing of Frances Rhea Berry, Martha Berry’s mother. However, this letter Martha Berry wrote to Kate Macy Ladd specifically stood out to me. The first aspect of the letter that caught my attention was the description provided of France Rhea at the time of her death. Her refusal to take morphine paints a picture of her strength and determination. I was surprised to see that all eight of her children were with her when she passed away, especially since many young people these days do not have a strong connection and commitment to their families like that.

The main part of Martha Berry’s letter that intrigued me was the portrayal of friendship between herself and Kate Macy Ladd. I think everyone should have friends they can count on for committed love and care, like Martha Berry says is true of Kate Ladd. At the same time, I believe it speaks to Martha Berry’s character that she was willing to wait to reach out to this close friend in her time of grief because she knew Kate Ladd was unwell at the time. It seems like such a small act to simply wait a little while to write a letter, but by doing so Martha Berry was setting the tone and standard for how friends should act and the selfless respect they should pay one another.

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