Toward the end of my interview with Elsi Dodge, we talked about what helped Elsi heal from divorce. She quickly recalled a book, A Grief Observed, that she described as phenomenally helpful. It’s by author, C.S. Lewis who most of us would recognize as the creator of the Narni series. Here’s how Elsi describes the book.
You won’t get over the pain and you won’t get over the sorrow of divorce. However, you go through a grieving process, the same as you do for a death or a lost job or a special needs child. You end up with acceptance. My acceptance came with reading C.S. Lewis’s book, A Grief Observed which is about the death of his wife.
After her death, her children went back to boarding school and he was alone in his house. There, he picked up what he calls ‘exercise books’ – we’d call them spiral notebooks – and he went to the back of them where the pages hadn’t been used and he wrote a diary – what we would call ‘journaling.’
After his death, his estate published the diary. It gives you C.S. Lewis without the mask, without the editor. He was just writing from his heart. You see THE great Christian mind of the 20th century write thoughts like,
“God, I’m so grateful that my wife is with you now and I know I’ll see her soon.”
“God, you obviously hate me or you wouldn’t have taken my wife away. I hate you too.”
“Obviously, there isn’t a god or this terrible thing wouldn’t have happened.”
“God, I know you love me even though …”
To watch his emotions run that gamut up and down and around and through, which is how I was feeling after my divorce, let me know I wasn’t crazy.
Elsi discovered the book after her first divorce and read it again after her second divorce. She says she’s probably given away more of copies of the book than any other book. When I looked the book up on Amazon, I also found that Lewis had written The Great Divorce, which the reviewer likens to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Anyone read The Great Divorce or A Grief Observed? Was it helpful? Would you recommend either one?
As I said, this is the last post in the series about Elsi and I’d like to thank Elsi for sharing her story. Elsi and I did not know each other before the interview which we arranged through emails. It wasn’t until we were seated at a local cafe, that she mentioned her history of panic attacks and fear of strangers. Then as she told me about her RVing and becoming published, I understood the progress she’d made and that made me especially appreciative of her willingness to share her story for my blog.
Thank you, Elsi!
As I mentioned, Elsi is a published author. In addition to her book, RV Tourist – Tips, Tools and Stories, her devotionals and inspirational non-fiction pieces have appeared in a number of compilation books. For a full listing of publications, visit Elsi Dodge‘s website. You can also follow her musings at her Meandering Moments .