By C. S. Lewis

During this vintage trial of religion, C. S. Lewis probes the elemental problems with lifestyles and dying, and summons those that grieve to sincere mourning and wish in the middle of loss.

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Madeleine L’Engle Crosswicks, August 1988 INTRODUCTION A Grief Observed is not an ordinary book. In a sense it is not a book at all; it is, rather, the passionate result of a brave man turning to face his agony and examine it in order that he might further understand what is required of us in living this life in which we have to expect the pain and sorrow of the loss of those whom we love. It is true to say that very few men could have written this book, and even truer to say that even fewer men would have written this book even if they could, fewer still would have published it even if they had written it.

What chokes every prayer and every hope is the memory of all the prayers H. and I offered and all the false hopes we had. Not hopes raised merely by our own wishful thinking, hopes encouraged, even forced upon us, by false diagnoses, by X-ray photographs, by strange remissions, by one temporary recovery that might have ranked as a miracle. ’ Time after time, when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture. I wrote that last night. It was a yell rather than a thought. Let me try it over again.

We both knew this. I had my miseries, not hers; she had hers, not mine. The end of hers would be the coming-of-age of mine. We were setting out on different roads. This cold truth, this terrible traffic-regulation (‘You, Madam, to the right—you, Sir, to the left’) is just the beginning of the separation which is death itself. And this separation, I suppose, waits for all. I have been thinking of H. and myself as peculiarly unfortunate in being torn apart. But presumably all lovers are. ’ Of course she didn’t know, any more than I do.

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