Views & Reviews Medical Classics

A Grief Observed

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 23 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7476
  1. Emma Ladds, fourth year medical student, Magdalen College, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 4AU, UK
  1. emma.ladds{at}

Who among us has never had to deal with grief after the loss of a close relative, a friend, or a patient? There can be few for whom this is an alien experience. Medical professionals are often called to support grieving individuals through this agonising and seemingly irrational time, a hugely challenging demand given the subjective nature of grief.

C S Lewis’s A Grief Observed provides a source of empathy and sustenance for the bereaved and the supporter alike. The book recounts Lewis’s reflections on grieving after the death of his wife, the …

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