But Lewis' fantasy world suddenly shattered when he was ten years old. His beloved mother died of cancer, and Lewis felt like he had lost a father and a mother. His father never spoke about his wife's death and threw himself into life in the outside world, so young Lewis shut out the sorrowful present by retreating further into his imaginary world.
Lewis later re-lived the attic world of his childhood and his mother's illness years later when he wrote the very first of the Narnia Chronicles, The Magician's Nephew. In this book, the character Digory realises that his mother is dying and asks Aslan to save her. Digory cures his mother when he brings her a magical apple.
But in real life, Lewis prayed to God to save his mother and no help came. She died, leaving Lewis and his brother behind in a sad, empty house. Young Lewis felt that God either didn't exist or was harsh and wasn't listening.
'Where is God? Go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double-bolting on the inside. After that, silence.'