A Grief Observed by C.S. LewisWritten with love, humility, and faith, this brief but poignant volume was first published in 1961 and concerns the death of C. S. Lewiss wife, the American-born poet Joy Davidman. In her introduction to this new edition, Madeleine LEngle writes: I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the souls growth.
Written in longhand in notebooks that Lewis found in his home, A Grief Observed probes the mad midnight moments of Lewiss mourning and loss, moments in which he questioned what he had previously believed about life and death, marriage, and even God. Indecision and self-pity assailed Lewis. We are under the harrow and cant escape, he writes. I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace. Writing A Grief Observed as a defense against total collapse, a safety valve, he came to recognize that bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love.
Lewis writes his statement of faith with precision, humor, and grace. Yet neither is Lewis reluctant to confess his continuing doubts and his awareness of his own human frailty. This is precisely the quality which suggests that A Grief Observed may become among the great devotional books of our age.
A Grief Observed
British author C. Lewis first published A Grief Observed in under the pseudonym N. When the couple wed, Lewis was in his late fifties, and Davidman, forty-one, had two sons from a previous marriage. They were together for three years before her death from cancer in Lewis died in at the age of sixty-four. From A Grief Observed by C.
Also In This Issue
A Grief Observed is a collection of C. - Lewis struggles profoundly with despair after the death of his wife, Helen Joy, in , after only three years of marriage.
American culture and Western culture generally has a difficult time dealing with death and the dying. We often do not know how to interact with those who are terminally ill. In a culture that is all about this life, consuming goods and living life to its fullest, death is the . Lewis seems to talk a lot about pain and loss. The eternal cause of pain is not clear; it wears a mask. The Apostle Paul writes that we should not mourn like those that have no hope.