“When the House is Empty” by C. S. Lewis


No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.  I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.  The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning.  I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed.  There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.  I find it hard to take in what anyone says.  Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in.  It is so uninteresting.  Yet I want the others to be about me.  I dread the moments when the house is empty.  If only they would talk to one another and not to me…

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’…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…

And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief…Not only writing but even reading a letter is too much.  Even shaving.  What does it matter now whether my cheek is rough or smooth?  They say an unhappy man wants distractions – something to take him out of himself.  Only as a dog-tired man wants an extra blanket on a cold night; he’d rather lie there shivering than get up and find one.

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1 Response to “When the House is Empty” by C. S. Lewis

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