Grief is like being “concussed, or slightly drunk”, C.S Lewis mused.

It is, he added, an “invisible blanket between the world and me… her absence is like the sky, spread over everything”.

Imagining marriage as one ship, C.S. Lewis wrote,

“the starboard engine has gone. I, the port engine, must chug along somehow till we make harbour. Or rather, till the journey ends.”

Vulnerable and mourning the loss of his wife, the British writer, then declared, life had lost its flavour.

Nothing struck him as worth doing, “I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time”, he shared.


C.S. Lewis observed that grief was a recurring, murky process “that never stays put”.

“At the moment”, he reflected, “I’m learning to get about on crutches”.

Lewis also questioned God, only to rebuke himself for thinking he was lofty enough to know God’s thoughts, possible reasons, or demand He break the forlorn silence.

Who I am to tell God what to do?

The truth is, Lewis explained, God – beaten, mocked, pierced, and dangling on a Roman cross – has also suffered.

Lewis concluded he wasn’t alone. God knows what it’s like to grieve too.

Sharing the same sentiments, Smallville alum, John Schnieder, took to social media late April saying,

“If you’re going down this road, it’s well travelled.”

The Dukes of Hazard icon’s wife of four years, Alicia Allain, died in February at the age of 53.

Schnieder broke the news on Instagram writing,

“My beautiful Smile is pain-free, living in her new body alongside Jesus… Hug those you love tight and let them know how you feel. We always did.”

Reading a poet’s lament, the actor best known for his roles as Bo Duke, and Jonathon Kent, recited,

“Widowhood is more than missing your spouse’s presence. It is adjusting to an alternate life.”

“Widowhood is going to bed for the thousandth time, and still, the loneliness doesn’t feel normal.”

Pausing between tears, the 63-year-old father of three continued,

“Widowhood is walking around the same house you have lived in for years and it no longer feels like home. Because ‘home’ incorporated a person. And they’re not there.”

It’s a detachment, the odd feeling of “being a stranger in your own life.”

Widowhood is “drifting with an unknown destination”, and grieving the one person who would normally be there to help you grieve.

“Widowhood is living in a constant state of missing the most intimate relationship. No hand to hold. Nobody next to you. No partner to share your burden.”

Widowhood, Schneider concluded, “is being alone in a crowd of people. Feeling sad even while you’re happy. Feeling guilty while you live.”

It’s like

“looking back while moving forward. It is being hungry but nothing sounding good. It is every special event turning bittersweet.”

This was vividly expressed by 19th-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who lost his wife after an ember set her gown on fire.

The New York Times July 12, 1861 incident report recalled Henry rushing to her aid.

Although he sustained “considerable injury to himself, Longfellow was unable to save his wife from being severely wounded.”

Frances Longfellow died the next morning.

Now a single father of five, Longfellow found himself grieving the loss of his wife in the middle of a Civil War, which his 16-year-old son would later join.

Six months after his wife’s death, Longfellow noted in his journal,

“How inexpressively sad are all holidays! But the dear little girls had their Christmas tree last night; and an unseen presence blessed the scene.” (December 25th, 1861)

Three years later, Longfellow, when reflecting on the process of widowhood, and the cost of war, would write some of the most powerful lyrics ever written.

His pen crashed through the forlorn silence, and the widower thundered,

“In despair I bowed my head, ‘There is no peace on Earth’, I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song. Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men.”

“Then rang the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor does He sleep.”

“The wrong shall fail. The right prevail. With peace on Earth, goodwill to men.”

Uniquely theirs, the grief exposed by C.S. Lewis, John Schneider, and Henry Longfellow’s observations, frames widowhood as a journey, not a destination.

In other words, widowhood is a process, not an identity.


Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi.

Published On: May 11th, 20230 CommentsTags:

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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