In sharing his own laments, Nicholas Wolterstorff has given us a gift. Christians are often hard-pressed to confront grief with honesty. In Lament for a Son, Wolterstorff removes the rose-colored glasses, and eschews Stoicism in favor of an honest wrestling with the reality of Death and the presence (or absence) of God in it. His honesty is akin to Lewis's in A Grief Observed, though his dominant voice is one of wounding rather than anger.
Here are a couple of brief passages:
“All these things I recognize. I remember delighting in them —trees, art, house, music, pink morning sky, work well done, flowers, books. I still delight in them. I’m still grateful. But the zest is gone. The passion is cooled, the striving quieted, the longing stilled. My attachment is loosened. No longer do I set my heart on them. I can do without them. They don’t matter. Instead of rowing, I float. The joy that comes my way I savor. But the seeking, the clutching, the aiming, is gone. I don’t suppose anyone on the outside notices. I go through my paces. What the world gives, I still accept. But what it promises, I no longer reach for.
I’ve become an alien in the world. I don’t belong anymore. When someone loved leaves home, home becomes mere house.”
"Someone said to Claire, 'I hope you're learning to live at peace with Eric's death.' Peace. Shalom. Shalom is the fulness of life in all dimensions. Shalom is dwelling in justice and delight with God, with neighbor, with oneself, in nature. Death is shalom's mortal enemy. Death is demonic. We cannot live at peace with death.
When the writer of Revelation spoke of the coming day of shalom, he did not say that one day we would live at peace with death. He said that on that day 'There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'
I shall try to keep the wound from healing, in recognition of our living still in the old order of things. I shall try to keep it from healing, in solidarity with those who sit beside me on humanity's mourning bench."
Like Lewis, Wolterstorff ends with his trust in the Trinitarian God fully intact, but you know and feel the lingering shadow of death even in his words of hard-won faith.