Self – Relationship and Taking Care of our Health

Welcome to a brand new year! I thought I’d kick off the year with a post to remind us all to take care of ourselves to maintain good health. No time like the present to keep ourselves in check for a healthy new year.

The most important relationship we have first and foremost should be with ourselves. If our health isn’t in great shape it can hinder much of what we do. Did you know that emotional health can affect our physical health? It’s a fact. In relation to that statement, I’m sure many of you have heard the term – ‘stress kills’. Well, it can potentially be very harmful. Just ask me, one who has gone the gamut of doctors and tests for much of the fall of 2022.

It’s easy to overlook ourselves, especially when times are tense. I’m a living testament to what self-neglect can do.  So yes, self compassion and self care is essential to live and thrive, not just to survive.

When my husband took ill, my complete focus was everything for him. Out with the old routine and scheduled self-care. While I was living on auto-pilot, I didn’t take the same care of myself I always previously did. Starting with poor diet and often, not eating. Not eating much led me to not taking my vitamins and supplements as I’d been doing for decades. My mind was solely focused on taking care of my husband. And when I’m living in stress, I’m one of those people who cannot look at food when in this mode – quite contrary to many who eat for comfort when they are stressed. Not living on a set schedule led me to random bites here and there, and often, food is required to take vitamins along with for absorbtion. Nothing to absorb left me forgetting to, and eventually, not even caring to take my supplements. So my body was becoming mal-nutritioned. Oh sure, I know better. But fear and anticipatory grief left me otherwise not caring. And there was certainly a price to pay in the fallout. So I can tell you from this experience that there is also no quick fix, but once getting back to a routine, it took many months to bring back my healthful levels in my lab tests. And still, it didn’t end there.

After losing my husband in spring of 2021, I wasn’t only an emotional wreck, but I was in poor physical health. Yes, even this good health advocate was caught in the spiral. And by summer’s end in 2021 I finally booked my overdue physical with my doctor. After she read back my labs to me, I was mortified at the results and all the changes my being had gone through. I lost a lot of hair for one. Many of my levels were red flagged. I was severely deficient in vitamin levels, especially Vitamin D. That was the biggee for me, as Vitamin D is so essential to our bodily functions, and fighting off cancers, where deficiency leaves us as an open target for cancer cells to develop. I also began experiencing ‘weird’ sensations in my heart. I often had palpitations and moments where I felt I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and I’d spontaneously cough. So I was sent to a cardiologist in the fall of 2021. I was put through a battery of tests and scans, and thankfully, nothing was diagnosed except stress causing my symptoms. The cardiologist asked me to follow up this past fall, and I did.

This time I was put through more and different tests, having me go back there and to the lab several times September until just weeks ago this past December. I was quite concerned, especially since a year had passed and my vitamin levels were brought back up by my good behavior, yet the heart symptoms were still lingering. And after the circuit of tests, I finally got a follow-up consult with the cardiologist. Thank goodness I was told there was nothing more serious going on, but I learned that there is indeed something called Broken Heart Syndrome. And though it is said that will eventually subside, it very much has the potential kill with a fatal heart attack.

There is a Japanese word for this syndrome – Takotsubo. This is a temporary form of cardiomyopathy. It can last weeks or months. Although this syndrome isn’t always fatal, it presents such symptoms of feeling tightness in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness in the heart muscle caused by sudden shock or acute anxiety. The body releases stress hormones which temporarily curb the heart’s ability to pump properly. Experts say that the coronary arteries that feed oxygen to the heart muscle, go into temporary spasms. Pyschological stress is a usual precursor to these symptoms. People in critical states are put on several heart medications for a temporary trial period of three months. I am grateful that I didn’t have to be prescribed such pills.

Stress kills, is a real thing. Stress comes in all shapes in forms and wreaks havoc in both our mental and physical health. We must never forget to take care of ourselves and our health, yet it’s so easy to do when life bombards us with unpleasant events, overwhelming things, and overly achieving schedules we put upon ourselves. Life is always throwing us curve balls in some aspect, so we must learn new ways to combat the overwhelming things in life. It isn’t always easy or preferred, or even thought about when we’re in the midst of a living crisis, because even when we forget about ourselves, our bodies do not forget the sins we’ve committed to them.

So what can you do to keep your healthy engines running? First and foremost, make it a point to have an annual check-up to get a scope of how well your bodies are functioning. When symptoms appear, don’t fluff them off until the “I’ll get to it eventually.” Pay attention to the signs that your bodies are sending you. Nothing happens because of nothing. There’s a reason for everything your body is telling you to pay attention to, not disregard until something escalates and potentially may become too late to repair.

In my case, it was (and is) ongoing ‘tragic’ grief that sent my body into a tailspin of symptoms. I was isolated in the depths of Covid and alone contending with my husband’s demise, and then, ultimately, the unraveling of living in that grief without him. We’ve often heard of someone losing a spouse and then not too long after, the other one dies. Grief is a stronghold that wraps around our hearts and suffocates. If it is not dealt with, it will cause a spiral of other symptoms, especially when self-neglect sets in. People who are left to wallow alone in their brokenness will ultimately pay a price somewhere with their own health. A good doctor will be so beneficial in this circumstance. The strong survive because they take action in searching for avenues that help them get through the difficult days. For me, my doctor gave me Valium for the short term to help numb the overwhelmingness I lived in. After my wake-up call with bad labs, it took about five months until my levels were back to normal again. I use meditations to take me out of myself when I feel the need. After a year, I joined a gym for both some physical goodness, and for social interaction. And of course, writing, writing is a great therapy for me, and it can be for many. You don’t need to be an author to be able to write in a journal to expel emotions, even if nobody else ever gets to read them. Words and thoughts that circle our brains sometimes need a push out of our heads onto paper. This can be quite gratifying and freeing to the soul.

It was a certainly a year of learning to get myself back into reasonable good health. The palpitations and shortness of breath moments have been lessening, but they aren’t gone yet. I take my vitamins religiously again. I also had an overdue colonoscopy a few weeks ago, and although nothing specific was found, the surgeon requested me to have more bloodwork done, and she informed me she took a few precautionary biopsies. Fingers crossed for that final result that should be back to me in a week or so. And so I shall continue on my journey of health, as I hope all of you will do the same for yourselves. 🧡

Happy New Year

©DGKaye2023

I told my doctor, now I understand how it could really happen, that someone could die from a broken heart. She said she couldn’t disagree. – Japanese word for broken heart

Goodbye my Friend – In Memorium

In memorium to my brother-in-law ‘Bill’ – William Gies who left a void September 13, 2022 – a legend in his time.

Rest in peace my lovely brother-in-law. I will miss our conversations, and your checking up on me every few weeks as a dutiful brother-in-law and friend, and all the laughter we shared for years in our monthly card club get togethers, parties, picnics, and Christmases in those so very golden days.

©DGKaye2022

God Bless our Queen Elizabeth II

I felt compelled to pay a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history. This woman has served as a Constitutional monarch, head of state for 70 years. She was coronated reigning Queen at the age of 25 years old in 1953 after her father George VI died in 1952, as the eldest heir to the throne. She was the longest reigning monarch of 70 years, and the only one who has reigned during my lifetime. Only Queen Victoria came closest serving almost 64 years on the throne. To this day, Canada still celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24th – affectionately known as ‘May 2-4’, first long weekend of summer.

Elizabeth lived and reigned through decades of change, far from the times of her ancestors who’d previously reigned. As a teenager during WWII, she became the first royal to join the active war efforts in the women’s British army as a truck mechanic. As Queen, her family had gone through numerous scandals, starting with the one that gave her own father the title of King with the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII’s reign, stepping down to marry a divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson. Power was passed over to his brother George, and following through, the Queen lived through plenty more scandals from her own family – sister Princess Margaret and her sordid affairs, down to her own sons, Charles marrying and divorcing Lady Diana and his ongoing affair with Camilla, and Andrew, recently having some of his royal duties and perks taken from him for his current shenanigans in the Jeffrey Epstein pornography scandal, even grandson Harry and the racist issues that came about with his marrying bi-racial Megan. Queen Elizabeth modernized the monarchy like no other royal.

The Canadian Connection to the Monarchy:

Although my country, Canada, is an independent country, the Queen remained our nation’s head of state, despite no active role in our Canadian politics, and despite our Canadian government legislative and parliament, run in similar fashion to the United Kingdom’s. She was our Consitituional monarch, who remained politically neutral. Our parliamentary system began from the British, Westminster system. Canada was originally a colony of the United Kingdom, thus, our Constitution was created by the United Kingdom in 1867, beginning our federal system of government, and is still one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world. Our Governor General is appointed by the monarch on the recommendation to the UK’s Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister and each provincial Premiere (equivalent to the American governor of American states), hold office only as long as our House of Commons (legislative branch), support them. Our government acts in the name of the Crown but our authority is derived by the Canadian people. The face of Queen Elizabeth has been on our Canadian currency since she was eight years old. She was also the Queen of Canada.

Not surprisingly, in this last year of the Queen’s life, she lost her husband who stood by and supported her for almost all of her 70 years reign. Despite her getting Covid and adding to her body’s immune response, and her age, 96 years old, as one myself who lost her own husband last year, only two days before the Queen lost her own beloved, and knowing how my loss took such a toll on my own health, it isn’t surprising to feel that the glorious monarch has taken too much on in the last year of her life between grief and illness to add to her 96 years on earth.

As a Canadian who grew up in her school years singing, God Save the Queen, I have always felt she was my Queen too. Perhaps as I grew up and my curiosities grew, became my fascination with the monarchy and its lineage of British history.

My heart is heavy for such a grand loss. As a personal note, I’d like to add my opinion about the fact that Prince Charles will now become King. Personally, I truly wish he would have abstained as the Queen’s uncle Edward did when her own father inherited the kingdom. I would have wished the kingdom would go directly to William, and can’t help but wonder how many others think the same way. But traditions remain, and now Charles will be the oldest monarch ever to take the throne. My heart goes out to the royal family.

God bless the Queen. My heart is heavy with this great loss of a reigning monarch, for myself, my country, and for the United Kingdom, and all the royals left behind. May she rest in peace with her beloved husband, and be remembered for centuries to come for her glorious reign. Amen.

~ ~ ~

Note: There was a heavy rainfall in London before the Queen passed, and shortly before her death was announced, a double rainbow was formed over Buckingham Palace:

https://people.com/royals/rainbow-appeared-over-buckingham-palace-shortly-before-queen-elizabeths-death-was-announced/

©DGKaye2022

Damaged Goods, Warranties, Humor, and the Love of My Life

Damaged Goods –

A popular slang term for a person with a ravaged past, incident, or reputation – no longer perfection. Aren’t we all damaged in some way? Hard to think that anyone has sailed through life unscathed by hurt, pain, or inappropriate abuse. We don’t have to experience physical pain to feel abused  – mental, or emotional, abuse can appear in all forms.

My husband used to joke around with me because three days after we were married, I wound up in hospital – on and off for three months because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, thinking it was a cancer that turned out to be hard to diagnose Crohns disease. No, it wasn’t funny then, but through the years, I had a few other scares, and throughout our marriage when all was well, my humorous husband used to like to say to our friends that he married damaged goods. He’d add to that, in true used car salesman talk, he married a lemon and it was too late to give her back because the warranty had expired.

Yes, that was my husband, always full of humorous slogans. Yes, I can laugh, and so can you, because my husband loved me to the nth degree and would move heaven and earth for anything that would make me happy. I lacked for nothing and never asked for anything, because I didn’t have to. He was always willing to give anything of himself. And he always did.

Damaged goods isn’t an endearing term by any means, typically it is referred to as a product we’ve bought that failed to live up to its projected expectations. Not so pretty when used to refer to a person’s state of being. My Honey had a joke for everything between us, and that’s why we laughed together every single day we were together. Life isn’t always funny, but if you can look past the painful parts and find a way to make light of things, it helps to lighten the load. Having unconditional love allows for such jokes, without that, a comment like that would sound abusive.

My husband had so many funny sayings. He was also always full of surprises. Every year or so he’d come home and inform me that he sold my car again. This was his department not mine. I knew that when he found a happy paying customer to buy a car he didn’t have on the lot for him, but he had one his wife was driving, of course, in mint condition, it was time to sell and make a profit. It became like a side business for him because all my cars were bought at wholesale price, and sold for retail. Getting a new car didn’t cost us anything and we’d buy a newer model. He had always warned me to never get attached to ‘things’.

One day he came home from work while I was sitting outside with a neighbor. He got out of his car, came up to me and gave me a kiss as he did every single day of our lives together, then told me to clean out my car, it was going tomorrow. I’d lament as I always did once I got attached to a car, reminding him how much I loved it and didn’t need a new one. The logic would repeat, he’d laugh and add, “Now Cubby, make sure you don’t stand on this driveway because you can be sold too.” Lol, I always remembered that one. As if! He loved to give the neighbors a laugh, pretending to be the guy with authority when anyone who knew us, knew that it was I who always had the final say. But I let him get his glory moments in, and we’d both burst out laughing at the mere conception that he’d ever give me away for any price.

I miss that man more than I could ever write. My heart breaks daily again everyday I wake up without him, and the painful longing for his embrace and love. I try to keep focusing on our funny moments to overshadow the black hole that resides within me, there were so many moments. It’s a Herculian task to say the least, to struggle daily with missing my other half of me. My husband joked a lot about my being damaged goods, but little did he know that’s exactly how I feel now without him. And there are no jokes possible to lighten this load. But one thing is for sure, the warranty on my love for him will never expire.

Big Puppy

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – My Beloved Son by Martha Perez – #Memoir

My Sunday Book Review today is for Martha Perez’s raw and loving memoir written about and to her beloved son Rudy who tragically died suddenly, and much too young. In this memoir, Perez bares her soul about the life she had with her son Rudy and his passing that crushed her soul.

Blurb:

Oh, Son, I can feel your heartbeat when I’m lying in my bed, too many memories going around in my head. I can see you in my dreams, holding me, protecting me. You would text me every day, “I love you, Momma, it’s going to be alright.”

MY BELOVED SON WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO?
MY PRECIOUS SON WHY DID YOU HAVE TO LEAVE ME ALL ALONE?

When you think life is calm, a storm comes to wipe away your hopes and dreams. My son, Rudy Andalon passed away on March 14, 2017. He was the love of my life; I carried for 9 months–280 days, 40 weeks, and raised him to be an amazing young man. There is no love greater than the love a mother has for her child. As I write this, tears roll down my cheek, tears of joy and sorrow. I miss him so much. I’ve written this book to help me and others who lost a child get through the aching pain burning inside, and to let you know you are not alone. This book is a memoir, inspirational, and a self-help guide. I’ve searched for answers to why God took my son, and there were none to be found; why good people die young, and the mean ones live on. All I know is Rudy’s in a place where there’s no pain, just happiness–an angel up in Heaven. He leaves behind a mother, father, sister, and two nieces.

I will always be brokenhearted, and will always love and adore my son. God bless him.

My 5 Star Review:

This is the heartbreaking story of a beautiful boy, Rudy, the son of Martha Perez who was sadly, laid to rest long before he ever should have been.

Perez tells her story with such rawness in recounting from the birth of her beloved son, spanning through the time of raising her children, often alone, as her sad marriage at the time with her then alcoholic husband, kept her lonely, yet her determination to be a good mother despite everything else in her life, never faltering. She tells her story with such love and compassion we can’t help but feel her pain.

Martha came from hard knocks when it came to her childhood, she was an emotionally neglected child. Her only fulfillment in life began with the birth of her beloved son, Rudy, and then later her daughter.

The author expresses her full heart of emotions for the love she held and holds for her son with no holds back. A moving and telling about the joy and ultimate heartbreak in one mother’s life. Near the end of the book she shares her loving advice about love and family and compassionate words to grievers as she endeavors to describe the depth of her grief. For those of us who’ve walked this journey of love, loss and grief, there is only so much we can reveal that can never be understood of such loss until it happens to us, but Perez conveys her loss so imperatively that one who reads it can’t help but taste the pain.

©DGKaye2022

Death Anniversary – Twenty Years – The Bite. I Love You to the Moon and Back for One Thousand Lifetimes

I love you to the core of my soul.

When you asked me to marry you, my heart held all the joy in the world.

Yet, the fear of the future and concern about how I’d deal if I were to lose you because of our age difference, it frightened me to my soul.

I weighed the odds and decided that another love like ours could never be.

I hugged you in true laughter, and said yes, but I made you promise me at least 20 years.

What a fool I was, short-changing myself and not asking for thirty.

Your promise gave me 22,

That fateful fear that’d sometimes niggled at my mind, came back to bite.

No amount of years would have ever been enough to have to let you go.

I love you now, still, and forever.

I love you forever into the beyond.

God gifted me you, but only on loan. Because he wanted you back.

You were my lesson on love.

I tasted true unconditional love,

A gift that many have been denied the privilege.

You’re a gift that will blanket my heart for the rest of my days.

I love you.

Puppy grave
In my heart forever

One year ago today, I lost the love of my life. I can’t even fathom the thought it’s been one year. It still aches like yesterday. My heart is still heavy, and the missing is a continuous gaping hole in my heart.

Today I will visit my husband’s grave, our grave, and lay a new rock upon the headstone. Although I feel the need to visit his grave, I feel him more when I’m home, or wherever I go, as though he is with me. He sends me lots of signs, so I know this much.

The only thing I’ve learned about heart-wrenching grief, is that it never subsides. Each wave that comes over me is like a fresh wound. It doesn’t get easier, I just learn to dance around it when it hits. I don’t suppose it ever goes away because as long as there was love, there will always be grief for the giant loss that resides in my heart.

Next week I will begin planning a celebration of life for my Puppy, the one Covid restrictions denied him; just like the Covid hospital restrictions that added to his demise. I still carry a lot of anger inside for that.

Ours was a true love story, and such as grief is, the more we love, the harder and longer we will grieve.

In the past year, I watched my husband die daily before my eyes. My heart was ripped, yet I had to carry on taking care of him because it was all I could do. I cast my brokenness aside, held back my tears and wouldn’t even admit to myself that my other half was leaving me. Until he did.

I packed up 25 years of our life together, gave things away and moved two months later. I don’t even know how I did it all, I just felt like I was on auto pilot going through the motions.

It was my friends who got me through the difficult days, allowing me to speak about him, about the pain, without any interruption or words of empowerment. Grievers don’t need all those foofie condolences, they need love and support and an ear to blanket the soul, for there are no solutions. Grief is just a process that one must journey through alone. But ears and hugs go a long way to comfort. So I thank my wonderful circle of friends, both here and at home, and all of you here for your love and support and for giving me back some of the ‘normal’ I need to continue on.

Beloved Puppy

I’m a longggg way from healing, but I’m doing and showing up, and taking in all the moments of gratitude along this painful road. And the only thing that keeps me doing so is believing my husband is still always here with me.

I came across the perfect word while reading things in one of the online grief groups I follow. There is a Portuguese word called ‘Saudade’, pronounced ‘Sodahd’. In the article I read it talked about this being the perfect word for which there isn’t a perfect English translation. But the gist of the word is it means a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for something or someone that one loves despite them being gone. It’s akin to the term ‘bittersweet’, a longing for something or someone that will never be again. I too now feel it is the perfect description for my grief. According to Dictionary.com,

saudade

soh-dahd; Portuguese soh-dah-juh ]

noun

(in Portuguese folk culture) a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent:the theme of saudade in literature and music.

I love this new word, it describes well the indescribable longing of grief.

Big Puppy
My Puppy

I haven’t published much in the last few years, during my husband’s illness and his dying, and subsequently, after. But don’t be fooled. I’ve been writing like a fiend. I’ve written many poems, conversations, observations and soul searching thoughts through this journey. Turns out I’m 30K words into a book about grief and love, although written in drafts. One day, when my heart can take it, I will put that book together. For now, I would like to share one of the poems I wrote for my husband:

IF

If I’d held you tighter and never let you go,
When God took you, I’d be there with you now.

If there wasn’t a Covid, and my pleas were heard,
You might have still been here with me now.

If I faced my fear of losing you and told you all I knew of your fate,
Would it have scared you more?

If I had a trillion more days, I couldn’t love or miss you more.

If I wasn’t so broken, I could reminisce our happy times,
Instead of just seeing your pained face and body, in my every thought.

If I could stop this biting pain, I could breathe.

If love could have saved you, you’d still be here with me now.




©DGKaye2022


Sunday Movie Review – The Father – Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman – #Dementia

The Sunday Movie Review – this movie caught me right out of left field. When I saw that The Father was released on Netflix starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman (The Crown), I couldn’t wait to watch it. I’ll also add that I had to put on my big girl pants to watch this heart grabbing story, but felt compelled to watch it, accompanied by a box of tissues.

 

A masterful performance by Anthony Hopkins in a heartwrenching role of The Father of Anne, played by Olivia Coleman.

 

My 5 Star Review:

 

This powerful story takes place in London where Anne has already taken in her father after realizing he shouldn’t be living on his own any longer, despite his stubborness. But Anthony (real name and movie name) still comes across as witty and intelligent – until he drifts into a lost person.

 

This is a heartbreaking character study movie, so don’t be looking for big plots and action. The premise is real and frightening and Hopkins gives the performance of his lifetime portraying a father with dementia. We get an internal look as we stand outside this box of grief and fear. The grief is what we feel from what we witness as this man continues to go back and forth from reality to his lost world of dementia and the grief we feel for his daughter Anne who remains compassionate, despite her moments of wanting to throw up her hands.

 

We take in the moments where Anthony’s fits of anger strike because his confusion annoys even himself. His verbal distaste for going into a home when suggested by Anne so she can take her opportunity to move to Paris, will have you, tugging at your own heartstrings.

 

The movie contains mostly dialogue and will have us the viewers just as confused as Anthony at some points as he trys to decipher the reality from his own dementia. The ending will rip what’s left of your heart out with Anthony’s vulnerability.

 

This movie portrays the brutal and raw realism of dementia, how one lives within himself with it and how those who are the caregivers live a living grief.

 

 

Most heartwrenching quote by Hopkins as he questions his own sanity:

“I feel as though I’m losing all my leaves.”

 

 

From IMDB :

Storyline

Having just scared off his recent caregiver, Anthony, an ailing, octogenarian Londoner gradually succumbing to dementia, feels abandoned when concerned Anne, his daughter, tells him she’s moving to Paris. Confused and upset, against the backdrop of a warped perspective and his rapid, heart-rending mental decline, Anthony is starting to lose his grip on reality, struggling to navigate the opaque landscape of present and past. Now, as faded memories and glimpses of lucidity trigger sudden mood swings, dear ones, Anthony’s surroundings, and even time itself become distorted. Why has his younger daughter stopped visiting? Who are the strangers that burst in on Anthony?Nick Riganas

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A fantastic half hour interview with Sir Anthony Hopkins on the making of this film, how he felt in the role and how he prepared for it. Note: He played a man his own age of 84.
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Has anyone here seen the movie? Thoughts?
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©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

 

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Through my journey of grief and reading several books on the subject of grieving, several times I came across quotes from C.S. Lewis’ book on grief mentioned in other books- A Grief Observed, which he wrote after losing his beloved wife. I came across Lewis’ reflections on bereavement in some other books I’d read, which had me scurrying off to Amazon to read yet another book on grief. But I didn’t feel this was just ‘another book on grief’, but a telling, a rant, a questioning, and a feeling of familiarity. I also felt this book different because it wasn’t written after the healing began, rather, in the rawness of grief as he questioned death and what, if anything, comes after.

 

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.

 

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

A Grief Observed is Lewis’ brutally honest reflection on the death of his wife, Joy Gresham, which exposes readers to the fact that man is vulnerable and fragile when attempting to understand the goodness of God in the midst of extreme pain.

 

Lewis’ four-part reflection brings readers face to face with the cruel reality of the damage that sin has done to our world. His writing demonstrates utter despair as a result of acknowledging that death is a natural and unavoidable destiny for all. He writes expressing the sentiment that his wife was so beautiful and beloved that her death, though natural, was undeserved. Lewis compares the feeling of grief to fear stating that it gives him the same restlessness, yawning and fluttering of the stomach. It is not hard for the reader to recognize that Lewis feels that damage has been done to his world.

 

While Lewis paints a vivid picture of why he loved his wife Joy, throughout his reflection she remains a faint figure in the background while the author focuses on grief itself. A Grief Observed leaves readers with a real sense of the frailty of the human experience.

 

Written after his wife’s tragic death as a way of surviving the “mad midnight moments”, A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: “Nothing will shake a man, or at any rate a man like me, out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

 

This is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.

 

 

My 5 Star Review:

I’ve read many books on grief through my own journey of darkness after losing the love of my own life, and what I will say about this book is that it’s raw and in the moment while the writer suffers the pangs of grief for the giant loss in his life while in the depths of his grief, sharing his thoughts and cynicism on the topic of death during the grieving process through his anger at god. Lewis questions all we know of death and what happens after, asking, what do we know really about the end of life and if there really is anything more after. Lewis helps put in words what many of us grievers wonder of the same. The author doesn’t offer the hope, but shares his path to coping as he questions god and religion and what exactly the ‘afterlife’ is all about and if it exists.

 

Lewis is a broken and confused man struggling to accept the death of his wife, writer Joy Gresham, he affectionately refers to as H., (her given name, Helen). These are the writings of a man suffering grief after losing the true love of his life – his ‘other half’. His writings are like a search for answers, a questioning of self, love and god.

 

Lewis talks about some people as ‘idiots’ in one of his rants – people who don’t have the faintest idea about some of the platitudes that automatically spill from their mouths as condolence: “It was God’s plan,” “She’s in a better place now.” Empty platitudes he calls them from people who have no conception behind those words. This statement seems to be the general concensus from those of us who’ve loved and lost.

 

Often people don’t know what to say. They don’t want us to hurt so they say words like, “It will get better, time to move on, or even worse, pretending to know the actual weight of grief when they’ve never walked the walk,” Lewis touches on this, the deep-seated root of pain of loss as he laments in his grief.

 

I’d recommend this book for anyone grieving and searching their soul.

 

 

Memorable quotes from Lewis on grief: ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

 

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

 

“Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?”

 

“Did you ever know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.”

 

©DGKaye2021