Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slowly, quietly memories change

A macro shot of fresh snow falling, taken by the Canon EF 100mm f.28
I must think more about [Helen Joy] and less about myself.
    Yes, that sounds very well. But there’s a snag. I am thinking about her nearly always. Thinking of the [Helen Joy] facts — real words, looks, laughs, and actions of hers. But it is my own mind that selects and groups them. Already, less than a month after her death, I can feel the slow, insidious beginning of a process that will make the [Helen Joy] I think of into a more and more imaginary woman.  Founded on fact, no doubt, I shall put in nothing fictitious (or I hope I shan’t). But won’t the composition inevitably become more and more my own? The reality is no longer there to check me, to pull me up short, as the real [Helen Joy] so often did, so unexpectedly, by being so thoroughly herself and not me…. Slowly, quietly, like snow-flakes – like the small flakes that come when it is going to snow all night – little flakes of me, my impressions, my selections, are settling down on the image of her. The real shape will be quite hidden in the end. Ten minutes – ten seconds – of the real [Helen Joy] would correct all this. And yet, even if those ten seconds were allowed me, one second later the little flakes would begin to fall again. The rough, sharp, cleansing tang of her otherness is gone.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (London: Faber and Faber, 1961), 17-18.

1 comment:

  1. These excerpts are just heartbreaking. I love Lewis's searing honesty, beautiful imagery, and willingness to share his deepest pain and doubt. Seeing this desperately vulnerable side of him actually strengthens my confidence in his thoughts on faith and religion. What a gift he has left us in his work.