Matthew's Fear

Updated on April 10, 2018
MollyAllmanSmith profile image

Molly writes under the pen name M. Allman. If you would like to read more of her work, you can find her books on Amazon Kindle.

Matthew sat in his seat at the funeral parlor rapidly swinging his feet, watching them become a black blur. He rarely visited Uncle George, but he remembered how his beady little eyes would disappear when he laughed, and how Uncle George enjoyed finding quarters behind children’s ears. Bored with watching his feet, he sat and stared as people stood in front of the casket, crying. The organ played an eerie song that sent cold chills through his little body.

Two plump ladies sat in front of him, gossiping about everyone else in the room.

“He literally died laughing.” One said.

The other put her hand over her mouth and gasped. “That’s terrible.”

“I’ll miss his boisterous laughter.”

“Georgie always enjoyed a good laugh and to go that way.” She gasped again.

Matthew’s mother came and sat beside him. “The service is starting. Sit up straight and don’t squirm.”

Sitting in a daze, Matthew kept seeing Uncle George’s beady, little eyes getting smaller and smaller as he laughed harder and harder until he fell to the floor.


“Come on dear it’s time to follow everyone out.” Matthew’s mother held his chubby little hand as they walked past the casket. Matthew stood on his tiptoes trying to see what a man that had died laughing looked like. He only caught a glimpse of Uncle George’s round belly and a pair hands folded on top.

On the ride home, Matthew gazed out the car window. His six-year-old mind was overrun with speculation as he wondered what could have possibly been so funny that it killed Uncle George.

The next weekend was his cousin’s birthday party. Matthew’s mother hoped a party might bring him out of his dark mood. Matthew was such an outgoing child. He loved playing with other children and entertaining them with his antics, so for him to act solemnly was out of character.

“I don’t know what to do with him, Tina? He refuses to watch cartoons, and whenever his dad and I laugh he cries, covers his ears, and hides under his bed. I’m afraid the funeral was too scary for him,” she whispered to her sister.

“I’m sure it’s just a phase,” Tina whispered, patting her sister back. “It’s time for the clown maybe that will cheer him up.”

When the clown came out, he tripped over his own enormous red shoes, and all the children began to giggle-- except Matthew. He raced into the house covering his ears.
His mother followed on his heels, “Matthew, what’s wrong?” She reached out caught him by the arm and comforted him as he trembled and sobbed. “Baby, what’s wrong. You’ve got to tell me what’s bothering you.”

He slowly raised his head and looked at her with wide frightened eyes. His eyelashes wear matted with tears, and he was unable to speak.

“I’ll take you home, and we’ll talk about it when you’ve calmed down.” She picked him up and carried him to the car, waving Tina over to her. “Something is really bothering him, so I’m taking him home. I’ll call you later.” She waved as they drove away.

When they got home, Matthew went into his bedroom and crawled under the bed. His mother coaxed him out with some ice cream and attempted talking to him again. “Can you tell mommy what’s bothering you?”

Matthew hesitated, rubbed his eyes, and stared into his bowel. “What was so funny?”

Mom tipped her head to look at his little face. “I’m not sure what you mean.” She held his chin and lifted his face. His blue eyes were welling up with tears.

“What was so funny that Uncle George died laughing?” He lowered his head as tears dripped into his bowl.

“Matthew, what makes you think he died laughing?” She walked over to him and wiped the tears from his cheeks with her thumbs.

“That’s what I heard a lady say.” He squished his ice cream into a liquid with his spoon.

“Baby, he didn’t die of laughing. He was laughing while eating and that caused him to choke, but laughing doesn’t kill you.” She held him firmly against her, kissing him on top of the head. “Is that what has been bothering you, baby? You were afraid to laugh and have fun?” He shook his head yes and held onto her tighter. “You don’t have anything to worry about. No one has ever actually died of laughing.”

She picked Matthew up, swung him through the air, and tickled his belly.

He giggled.

“See, your fine, sweetie.”

The next morning they went to visit Uncle George’s final resting place. As his mother placed flowers on the grave, Matthew strolled up and pretended to take a quarter from behind his ear. “Here, Uncle George, You forgot one.” He gently placed the quarter on the headstone.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • MollyAllmanSmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Molly Smith 

      12 months ago from Indiana

      Thank you both, and Larry, yes, I still watch Little House on Prairie and remember that line. I love it!

    • Larry Fish profile image

      Larry W Fish 

      12 months ago from Raleigh

      What a good read, Molly. I was interested from line one until the end. That is the way it should be. As I get older I think about funerals more and more. I remember lines from, Little House on the Prairie. "Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you. If you have to

      remember me with tears, then don't remember me at all."

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      12 months ago from Shelton

      I really enjoyed Mathew's Fear Molly.. it was so easy to follow and hit its target.. Loved it


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)