A Grief Observed (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)
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ISBN/ASIN : 0060652381
Manufacturer : Zondervan Publishing House|
Release data : February, 2001
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'A GRIEF OBSERVED' is a look through a Christian perspective at loss, grief and recovery. One of the best written books, similar to another deep and emotional book along the same line 'SONG OF CY: UNDERSTANDING GRIEF' by Katlyn Stewart. If you are dealing with grief, and need answers, these books will offer that and much more.
An affecting piece of writing
When I brought this home, my mum took it to read first, intrigued and eager to know Lewis' insights. Not only is it something we (as grievers at any stage) can all read and say, 'Yes I know that feeling', but it can be passed around family members and become something to bond over. That sounds incredibly vague and sentimental, but it really does seem to have had that effect on my family, recently bereaved.
I don't think it should be reserved only for grieving people, however, just that the writings have more significance if you are in a similar mindset. The discussions about God and Heaven should not put you off because it is just those things which are debated and puzzled over. Lewis is in no way at all preaching personal or wider Christian beliefs.
The writing is honest - frequently he reflects on what he has just put down and disagrees with it, or rethinks it. Overall it is an affecting and very humane essay (I would call it that, not novel or anything). It is a slim volume and a quick read, but one to keep on the shelf always.
So high a cost...
C.S. Lewis is perhaps best known for children's stories that also delight adults; however, during his lifetime he was best known as an inspirational speaker, not quite in the same line as modern televangelists, but nonetheless a crowd-pleaser who had subtle but strong theology to share.
C.S. Lewis was a confirmed bachelor (not that he was a 'confirmed bachelor', mind you, just that he had become set enough in his ways over time that he no longer held out the prospect of marriage or relationships). Then, into his comfortable existence, a special woman, Joy Davidson, arrived. They fell in love quickly, and had a brief marriage of only a few years, when Joy died of cancer.
This left Lewis inconsolable.
For his mother had also died of cancer, when he was very young.
Cancer, cancer, cancer!
Lewis goes through a dramatic period of grief, from which he never truly recovers (according to the essayist Chad Walsh, who writes a postscript to Lewis' book). He died a few years later, the same day as the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
However, Lewis takes the wonderful and dramatic step of writing down his grief to share with others. The fits and starts, the anger, the reconciliation, the pain--all is laid bare for the reader to experience. So high a cost for insight is what true spirituality requires. An awful, awe-ful cost and experience.
'Did you know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past...'
All that was good paled in comparison to the loss. How can anything be good again? This is such an honest human feeling, that even the past is no longer what is was in relation to the new reality of being alone again.
In the end, Lewis reaches a bit of a reconciliation with his feelings, and with God.
'How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back. She said not to me, but to the chaplain, "I am at peace with God." '
Lewis had a comfortable, routine life that was jolted by love, and then devasted by loss. Through all of this, he took pains to recount what he was going through, that it might not be lost, that it might benefit others, that there might be some small part of his love for Joy that would last forever.
I hope it shall.