While working as a translator on a peace treaty between England and Burma, Adoniram Judson received a black-sealed letter. The messenger, when he handed Judson the letter, said, “I am sorry to inform you on the death of your child.” Thinking that his infant daughter, who had been suffering severely since birth, had died, Judson breathed a prayer of thanks that his dear wife Ann was still alive. However, when he opened the letter, he read this:
To one who has suffered so much and with such exemplary fortitute, there needs but little preface to tell a tale of distress. It were cruel intead to torture you with doubt and suspense. To sum up the unhappy tidings in a few words – Mrs. Judson is no more.
On October 24th, 1826 Ann Hasseltine Judson died at the age of 36 of smallpox. This mission heroine had literaly wore herself out by caring for Jusdon while he was held for seventeen months in the horrid, disease, rat-infested death prison of Ava. The long trips, harsh climate, and danger made her body so weak that when smallpox attacked, she couldn’t overcome it. Ann’s death was a crushing blow to Adoniram. For a man who has suffered so much and had faced so many hardship, this death was a driving nail. He wrote this of Ann’s death:
It proves a stormy evening, and the desolation around me accords with the desolate state of my own mind, where grief for the dear departed combines with sorrow for present sin, and my tears flow at the same time over the forsaken grave of my dear love and over the loathsome sepulcher of my own heart.
Ann was buried under a Hopia tree in the city of Amherst and Judson, by the grace of God, overcame his grief and continued his work.