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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
REFLECTING ABOUT GRIEF
In November we have been praying for our loved ones and perhaps reflecting upon grief and perhaps experiencing grief. Here are some extracts from C.S Lewis’s diary of mourning his dear wife (‘A Grief Observed’), to whom he refers as ‘H’

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. […]

There are moments, most unexpectedly, when something inside me tries to assure me that I don't really mind so much, not so very much, after all. Love is not the whole of a man's life. I was happy before I ever met H. I've plenty of what are called 'resources.' People get over these things. Come, I shan't do so badly. One is ashamed to listen to this voice but it seems for a little to be making out a good case. Then comes a sudden jab of red-hot memory, and all this 'commonsense' vanishes like an ant in the mouth of a furnace. […]

Meanwhile, where is God? […] When you are happy […] if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be – or so it feels – welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away […]

Something quite unexpected has happened. […] at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best. Indeed, it was something (almost) better than memory; an instantaneous, unanswerable impression. To say it was like a meeting would be going too far. […] It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier. […]
Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? […]

And so, perhaps, with God. I have gradually come to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face? The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can't give it: you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear […]

posted by Sinead Reekie at 12:23 pm