The Road to Joy - Chapter II
"Matilda is very sick."
I couldn't believe my brother's words. Yes she was sick; she'd been sick for the past week, but had been recovering the past couple days. I had been there at noon that day and she had seemed almost ready to get up and walk. I wondered how she could be sick again.
"Her fever took her again after you left, and she's been getting steadily worse." My brother's words seemed to come out so slowly, "we called Doctor Hamming, and he's still with her. But he's said she won't last the night."
"That's just Doctor Hamming!" I said, trying to sound confident. I wasn't confident at all. My heart began to sink within me as I put my coat and hat back on. We left immediately, but it seemed to take forever to reach my family's house. As I walked, the cold seemed to melt before me, not daring to lay an icy finger upon me. I was hot with emotions, my mind racing. "My sister, oh my dear sister!" my heart lamented, "how can I bear to lose you?"
Suddenly I faced the door of my family's house, but I didn't want to go in; I feared to go in. "What if my sister died?" I thought, "What if my dear sister is died?" My heart broke at the thought. The door loomed ominous and dark. It seemed death lurked behind it and to open it would unleash death.
My brother opened the door and my mind cleared. "What was this? God would preserve my sister. He wouldn't let her die." Yet I knew He promised no such thing. "He had promised the best for us, but how could my sister dying be good?"
I took off my hat as I entered, but did not bother with my coat. I walked through to the back room where my sister was. Doctor Hamming stood up. "She asked for you a while ago, but now she's delirious," he said, then mumbled, "very delirious."
I stood there for a second. She was so pale, restlessly rolling in the bed. I knelt down beside her and grasped her hand. It was cold. I knelt there for several minutes when she stopped struggling and lay there quietly. Her breathing was shallow and she looked paler than ever.
"She was so beautiful," I thought, "but it's been drained from her face." I was oblivious to everything else around me. All I could see was that face I so dearly loved; that face that was drained of its usual cheerfulness. The life seemed to slowly fall from her brow, slowly but surely.
It seemed ages I knelt there. Then suddenly I became aware of my surroundings. My mother was weeping; my little sister was crying. Matilda was dead.
It seemed too much to understand, to fully comprehend. I stood up and backed up against the wall. I was again lost to everything around me. Everything around me except that little spot on the wall. The one I always noticed in the corner, and would now always notice and be reminded of my sister's once joy-filled face drained of life, faded, pale on the pillow of her death.
Finally I could take the room no more. I left. I walked right out of the house, forgetting my hat. My heart cried to God, or rather against God, "Why did You do this? Matilda loved and served You. She was so sweet and young. She had her whole life ahead of her, but you took it from her! She, a bright star, and you crush her! God, how can you do this?"
I immediately felt shamed. "How can I act this way? Lord forgive me." Yet I still felt angry. I felt angry that Matilda had died. Sorrow overwhelmed me and I wept bitterly.
As I reached home, I dried my eyes. Silly that pride would affect me at such a time, but I did not wish Thomas to see me in such a state. I slipped in as quietly as possible, but not quiet enough to escape Thomas' ears. "Is that you Mr. Douglas?" he asked as he came in from the other room. Then when he saw me asked with concern, "Is Miss Matilda alright?"
I tried to answer, but nothing would come. Finally I forced my sister's name out, "Matilda." It was such a mournful sound. It reflected the sorrow of my heart. I walked up stairs, tears beginning to stream down my face again.
I lay on my bed, not even bothering to take my coat off. Such sorrow filled my heart. I felt as if someone had stabbed a knife into my heart. My dearest of sisters was gone, taken away from me forever. God had taken her away from me. Again anger swelled up in me. I knew it was wrong, but I didn't want to fight it. It all hurt too much, and God was to blame. What purpose was He fulfilling in this pain? Did He find joy in my pain? With these thoughts I slowly drifted to sleep.