Susan Pevensie was no stranger to grief.
The first loss in Susan's life had been the most acute. It was not, as one might suspect, the loss of a dear loved one. Not the loss of her family, a friend, but instead the loss of a lifestyle.
The minute she'd tumbled out of the wardrobe, wearing the long forgotten form of her youth, she'd known that was it. She'd had known that the life she'd grown accustomed to was gone and the life she'd laid aside so very many years before was the one she'd now have to inhabit. Then they had returned to Narnia, and for the briefest of moments, she presumed that perhaps she could stay this time. Perhaps she need not return to the place she had not considered home since her coronation. But Aslan saw that she did not entertain such a fancy: she was too old for Narnia. But how too old when she'd been older when she'd left? She wanted to protest. How too old to be denied access to my home? The pain was so raw, so all encompassing that she knew she must find a distraction.
And when, months later, Lucy mentioned Narnia she would snap at her sister, "We are too old for Narnia, Lucy. Hush up."
Lucy silenced, looking upon her sister with a queer look she suspected was pity. Susan straightened her back and turned to the mirror, painting her lips the color of the roses in their garden at Cair Paravel.
The second loss was no less significant, and ached just as near in her heart. She had heard the news of the train crash many hours before the officials came knocking on the door in the middle of dinner. Seeing their uniforms, the sympathy and apprehension in their eyes and she knew that not all was well. They led her into the kitchen, sat her down and told her the news. Despair came down upon her like an opposing army and it occurred to her that this time she had no army of her own to send out and meet it.
And so it crushed her, defeated her and left her for dead.
Many days passed before she had the courage to eat. Many more before she spoke. She missed their funeral, instead spending the day lost in memories of the people that her siblings had once become in another world, people they'd never become in this world.
But time passed, and one day she found that she was able to look upon their smiling visages, preserved forever on paper, and smile. She was able to go into Lucy's room and pull out a handkerchief hand-embroidered with the face of a lion.
She dared to open the bedside drawer, to look upon her sister's written thoughts and could almost imagine that she was still there, sitting right beside her, swinging her legs and chattering happily. But then she closed the book and the image vanished in a puff of smoke.
She stood and walked from the room. The next day she sold the house, telling the realtor to do what he would with the belongings inside. The next time anyone asked if she had any siblings, she answered no.
There were more losses over the years: things insignificant, like finances and belongings. Things irreplaceable like memories and lovers. And each time she dealt no better, preferring to move on as though they had never existed in the first place. It was, she barely dared admit to herself, her worst failing.
No, Susan Pevensie was no stranger to grief. But she was appallingly ill-equipped to deal with its visits.