After a life of bachelorhood, C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963) married American writer Joy Davidman, the love of his life. Davidman died of cancer four years after their marriage and left Lewis completely bereft.
A Grief Observed is about her death and Lewis’ loss. He addresses the book to an unknown recipient but it is self-addressed, questioning his own abilities, rationality and mortality.
This deeply personal account addresses the physical nature of grief, the loss of something we love and our ultimate lack of existence. Additionally Lewis reflects on the compounding nature of sorrow: not only do we suffer grief, we suffer our awareness of it. Underneath it all is Lewis’ fragile faith, his questions about God and a struggle to accept not-being.
Additionally, I warmly recommend Max Porter’s Grief is a Thing With Feathers, a heart-binding prose-poem on exactly what Lewis faces – the abstract post-death emptiness. In this imaginative work, that emptiness is filled by a crow.