The Valpo Core Reader


Laura Hillger

Document Type

Life and Death Essay

Publication Date



Madeleine L'Engle writes, "Each experience of grief is unique" (Lewis xiii). However, she also articulates that there are basic similarities in the experiences of all people grieving for the loss of true love. As L'Engle read A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis, she observed the difference of losing a spouse after only a few years of marriage compared to the long marriage she enjoyed before her husband's death. Lewis entered his marriage with the knowledge that his wife, Joy, would likely be taken from him within a few years. Another literary example of a spouse knowingly going to their death is present in the play Alcestis written by Euripides. In all experiences of death, every moment of grief is unique to the individual, while the range of emotions and experiences are often similar, especially when the circumstances surrounding the death are similar. Lewis and Admetos both experience doubts in their faith, feel the loss of their spouse as loosing part of themselves, and question their ideas of the afterlife.