Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Grief Observed

I am reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. He wrote it as a personal journal when his wife passed away after battling cancer. It is absolutely one of the most raw and deeply personal descriptions of grief, doubt and hope I have encountered.

Here are some quotes that I love from the book...

"If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild."

"Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief."

"And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness."

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't."


  1. That last describes you so well.

  2. I love C.S. Lewis so much (hence naming a son after him). I love how he can poetically cut to the essence of so much of life and make it resonate. I am grateful for his willingness to share his insights and struggles with the world.