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Review: A Grief Observed, By C.S. Lewis

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  This classic personal memoir is available free in various formats. It's a short book.  A Grief Observed draws from Lewis' stream of thoughts notebooks. He wrote it during his severe grief very soon after his wife's death from cancer in 1960. The book includes vivid descriptions of some common raw emotions in acute grief, though many passages may not be as relatable or easy to read. Lewis was a Christian theologian, and much of the book focuses on religion.  My rating: R ecommended  ★★☆ ☆ Note: This format for reviews is a work in progress – more about this here . Comments welcome. 0 stars = red flag; 1 = not recommended; 2 = recommended, with limits; 3 = recommended, above average; 4 = highly recommended. Overview: Memoir, with vivid descriptions of acute grief. 40 pages (or more in formats with small pages). Husband grieving for the loss of his wife (cancer), England, 1960/61. Written by a writer and theologian (Christian), in the first weeks and months of bereavement.

Introducing a grief series at The Atlantic

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These dark-red sweet peas are from my garden. They're this year's descendants of the ones I mention  at The Atlantic . It's the first article in a planned series about grief, digging into the science around grieving. I write about my experience of severe grief, and why I started this project after my son, Adam, died. I unpack the myth of "five stages of grief" that's had a grip on popular imagination since the 1970s, and argue that we could be better informed about what lies ahead for most people who have lost someone dear.  The evidence I write about briefly in that article is the first research collection at this blog, looking at studies on the course of grief. That was aimed at finding an answer to one of my burning questions in the aftermath of Adam's death: how long was the overwhelming despair likely to last? I hope others find the results of my search as helpful as I did. Best wishes, Hilda

Research Collection – The Course of Grief

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  I took this photo  3 months after  my son's death, hoping to be able to do what that tree had done – re-establish a thriving life after a devastating blow. When that blow had landed, o ne of the first things I had wanted to know was how long it usually takes for extreme distress to start easing. Of course, grief, like any personal experience, is very individual: no one could tell me how long it was going to be until my despair lessened – or even if it would. But I knew,  from decades  of developing evidence-based information for suffering people, that research should be able to provide better answers than I was reading in information for grievers. I wrote recently at The Atlantic   about my frustration with the conflicting information I was seeing on the course of grief. This research collection is the basis for the statements I made there. This post is organized into a pyramid with several layers. First, there's a short summary of what I found. That's followed by a more