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The Madness of Grief


Richard Coles’ partner David died just before Christmas in 2019. In the ‘mad’ state of bereavement he found himself in, he started writing and the exercise was cathartic in itself. For us, we have a raw yet so readable account of what happened before and after his loss which will strike a chord with anyone who has lost someone close to them. There are hilarious as well as tear-jerking moments along the way, not least dealing with five dachshunds when you are a half-time priest, and a full-on celebrity, with a Northamptonshire vicarage and a narrow boat to maintain! 


I’d like to steer you towards many passages where Richard Coles explores why it feels no easier for Christians to cope with grief despite the hope of eternal life, but I leave you with just one taster: 


‘Christians, like everyone else, need to grieve when they lose the ones they love. I have never been of the school that thinks our priesthood obliges us to offer business as usual, and bury our mothers and our husbands and our children dry-eyed and level voiced in the sure and certain hope. Some do, and good luck to them, but I could not, would not. I have no doubt in the mercy and generosity of God, nor in the promise of more to come, and wonderfully, but I needed other people to do the honours so that I could honour David with my grief.’

Richard Coles is a radio and television presenter and priest –

The Madness of Grief (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2022) is available to buy from Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

The Revd Richard Coles The Madness of Grief book cover.jpg
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