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A Grief Poetically Observed

A parishioner of Saint Elizabeth Church in Poulsbo, Washington, has published a collection of poems reflecting on death from an Orthodox Christian perspective. Dedicated to his recently departed mother, author Francis John Spillane initially wrote the poems as an effort to come to terms with an unexpected fear of life caused by her death. As he shared them over the course of a year with fellow parishioners and friends beyond the parish, he eventually realized that he had a collection large enough to fill a small volume.

The poems are reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s famous reflection on death, A Grief Observed. In that work the apologist for “Mere Christianity” described grief as “a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me,” and in his volume Francis likewise explores the way that death creates a “fog” that threatens to separate the grieving from life, and even from the experience of God’s presence. But the insuppressible power of love—generated especially in memories about our loved ones—and the always active love of God prevent him from falling into despair. The experience of Orthodox worship and piety provides the lantern in a slow, modest, but ultimately victorious journey out of the fog and back into the light of life.

The book is entitled Good Mourning, Hopeful Night: Poems of Grieving, Healing, and Journeying to God.

See details and order here.

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