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Whether it is pastoral care for the bereaved, discussions about the afterlife, or being called out to perform the last rites, death is part of the Reverend Richard Coles’s life and work. But when his partner the Reverend David Coles died, shortly before Christmas in 2019, much about death took Coles by surprise. For one thing, David’s death at the early age of forty-three was unexpected.

The man that so often assists others to examine life’s moral questions now found himself in need of help. He began to look to others for guidance to steer him through his grief. The flock was leading the shepherd. Much about grief surprised him: the volume of ‘sadmin’ you have to do when someone dies, how much harder it is travelling for work alone, even the pain of typing a text message to your partner – then realising you are alone.

The Reverend Richard Coles’s deeply personal account of life after grief will resonate, unforgettably, with anyone who has lost a loved one.

Reviews

This is not a self-help book on how to cope with death and loss, it is an honest, raw and personal account of a man's descent into the Madness of Grief. Richard provides a frank account of the trials and tribulations he endured during the weeks between the death and the funeral of the man he loved. Funny, sad, touching and thought provoking, it reminds us that grief has no normality, no time limit and most importantly, no rules.
Professor Dame Sue Black, author of All that Remains and Written in Bone
This is a book that captures brilliantly, beautifully, bravely the comedy as well as the tragedy of bereavement. The Madness of Grief is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, painful and strangely comforting as it confronts the reality of what happens to us all in the end.
Rachel Sylvester, THE TIMES
Bold, intimate writing... The Madness of Grief is not a manual for the bereaved, but as a vivid account of how it feels when the world suddenly falls away, it performs another kind of service.
Victoria Segal, THE SUNDAY TIMES
His musings on joining the ranks of what he calls "fellow casualties of the war with death" will strike a chord with anyone who has grieved... The book shines with the sort of wry, self-analytical wisdom you might expect from Coles... Full of resonating reflections, ones that urge us all to be kinder, to love more strongly.
Martin Chilton, INDEPENDENT
Heartbreakingly sad and searingly honest... For those who find themselves bereaved, this book is sure to help.
Nicole Carmichael, DAILY MIRROR
You don't need to be religious to find comfort in this book. Anybody who has experienced a similar complex grief will relate to many of Coles's anecdotes
Helen Brown, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Although not a self-help book, the homilies, experience and catharsis within creates invaluable solace. It will resonate for the myriad struggling with grief wrought by the pandemic.
Alex Burrows, THE QUIETUS