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"A Grief Observed"


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I've had cause to remember words from "A Grief Observed," by the wonderful C.S. Lewis, who lost his wife to cancer. The book was actually a personal journal never meant for publication. It's honest and raw. It opens with this:


"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.

There are moments, most unexpectedly, when something inside me tries to assure me that I don't really mind so much, not so very much, after all. Love is not the whole of a man's life. I was happy before I met H. I've plenty of what are called 'resources.' People get over these things. Come, I shan't do so badly. One is ashamed to listen to this voice but it seems for a little to be making out a good case. Then comes a sudden jab of red-hot memory and all this 'commonsense' vanishes like an ant in the mouth of a furnace."

-- From "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis


Bill and I actually read this book together. Well, Bill read it first. He then encouraged me to read it. I tried, but couldn't do it -- too real. Then things got worse. I decided to read it. I told him I had started. From that night on, I read it to him as I was reading myself (he could no longer see to read). It was oddly comforting to read it together. We talked about it and how we felt about it. It was one of "those special memories" we would be blessed to share in the midst of the ugliness that is cancer.

With love,

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