The Madness of Grief – by Richard Coles


In the Reverend Richard Coles’s life and vocation, death plays a significant role, from providing pastoral care to the bereaved, discussing the afterlife, to administering last rites. However, when his partner, the Reverend David Coles, passed away unexpectedly shortly before Christmas in 2019 at the young age of forty-three, Richard Coles found himself grappling with the profound realities of death in ways he hadn’t anticipated.

A man who often guided others through life’s moral complexities, Richard now felt the need for help and guidance as he faced his own grief. The roles had reversed, with the flock now leading the shepherd. Grief, he discovered, held unexpected surprises – the overwhelming amount of administrative tasks when someone passes away, the heightened difficulty of traveling alone for work, and the heart-wrenching pain of typing a text message to a partner who is no longer there to receive it.

In his deeply personal account, Richard Coles candidly shares his experiences of life after grief, resonating profoundly with anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. The journey through mourning, the unexpected challenges, and the process of healing all form an unforgettably touching narrative that explores the depths of human emotions and the universal experience of loss.

“Immensely moving and disarmingly witty” – Nigella Lawson
“Such a moving, tough, funny, raw, honest read” – Matt Haig
“Beautifully written, moving and gut-wrenching, but also at times very funny” – Ian Rankin
“Captures brilliantly, beautifully, bravely the comedy as well as the tragedy of bereavement” – The Times
“Will strike a chord with anyone who has grieved” – Independent

Books for Grief - View All

Books for Grief – Partner and Spouse Loss

The books featured in this video have all been recommended by users of our support services.
All At Sea
The Elements: A Widowhood
The Year of Magical Thinking
A Grief Observed
The Archaeology of Loss

Do you know of a book for grief which is missing from our list? Please tell us about it, as it may help someone else feel supported after loss. Email us with your recommendations on

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