One of my favorite books is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.
I love it!
The first time I read it, it seemed that each word was a tasty morsel that I couldn't wait to eat. This book follows the life of a woman from her teenage years into womanhood. I identified with Katherine in so many ways while I read the book, and was horrified to read of her young son's death. That was something I hadn't experienced nor could imagine. I'm reading this book again with new eyes now...
We have come into the country with what God has left us, our two youngest children. Yes, I have tasted the bitter cup of bereavement and drunk it down to its dregs. I gave my darling to God, I gave him, I gave him! But, oh, with what anguish I saw those round, dimpled limbs wither and waste away, the glad smile fade forever from that beautiful face! What a fearful thing it is to be a mother! But I have given my child to God. I would not recall him if I could. I am thankful He has counted me worthy to present Him so costly a gift.
I cannot shed a tear, and I must find relief in writing or I shall lose my senses. My noble, beautiful boy! My firstborn son! And to think that my delicate little Una still lives and that death has claimed that bright, glad creature who was the sunshine of our home!
But let me not forget my mercies. Let me not forget that I have a precious husband and two darling children and my kind, sympathizing Mother still left to me. Let me not forget how many kind friends gathered about us in our sorrow. Above all let me remember God's lovingkindness and tender mercy. He has not left us to the bitterness of a grief that refuses and disdains to be comforted. We believe in Him, we love Him, we worship Him as we never did before.
My dear Ernest has felt this sorrow to his heart's core. But he has not for one moment questioned the goodness of the love of our Father in thus taking from us the child who promised to be our greatest earthly joy. Our consent to God's will has drawn us together very closely; together we bear the yoke in our youth, together we pray and sing praises in the midst of our tears. "I was dumb with silence because Thou didst it" (Psalm 39:9).
You can also download and listen to the entire book free from Librivox here.