A Grief Observed is a collection of C. S. Lewis's reflections on the experience of bereavement following the death of his wife, Joy Davidman, in 1960. The book was first published in 1961 under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk as Lewis wished to avoid identification as the author. Though republished in 1963 after his death under his own name, the text still refers to his wife as “H” (her first name, which she rarely used, was Helen). The book is compiled from the four notebooks which Lewis used to vent and explore his grief. He illustrates the everyday trials of his life without Joy and explores fundamental questions of faith and theodicy. Lewis’s step-son (Joy’s son) Douglas Gresham points out in his 1994 introduction that the indefinite article ‘a’ in the title makes it clear that Lewis’s grief is not the quintessential grief experience at the loss of a loved one, but one individual’s perspective among countless others. The book helped inspire a 1985 television movie Shadowlands, as well as a 1993 film of the same name.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
C S Lewis (via itsquoted)
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