In the Valley of the Shadow

Though Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite times of the year (second only to Christmas), it has a shadow cast over it this year. Holidays are all about family, and if a huge part of your family is missing....celebrating can be hard. Most days, though, I am doing well. I am doing better than I ever expected. For that I am very thankful.

I just read C.S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed," which is a short collection of notes from his journal after his wife died on cancer. I think it is the best possible book on grief, because it is not trying to comfort or explain or is simply his raw, unvarnished thoughts in the midst of extreme pain. This passage really spoke to what exactly I feel right now:

"Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he's had his leg off it is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has "got over it". But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will hardly be any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.....
How often--will it be for always?--how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment?” The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again."

3 Response to "In the Valley of the Shadow"

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for posting on grief. This post has perfect timing for what I've been dealing with recently. I'll have to look at what C.S. Lewis's book - I hadn't heard of this one.

  2. Alex Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.
  3. Alex Says:


    I wish I would have started reading this earlier. "How often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty..". That speaks to me the most in terms of understanding what you are still going through. Thank you for giving me another way to pursue you.