Grinch or Grief Elf?

You’d think I’d know better, but “the season” still arrives with an emotional wallop, even after all these years. It used to be easy to blame it on that sly little grief elf, but really, eleven years on, that excuse is a little worn out. It’s like coming in for a bouncy landing after a long period of smooth skies. When did that wheel fall off?

I plan, I cook, I fill stockings, I buy presents, I do all the stuff, just as I always did. But it’s a wind-up doll who does those things. And then I wake up on the 24th grumpy, annoyed, out of sorts. I play Christmas music to ward it off. I drink too much wine. Family arrives and bump bump bump, the wheels come off and I find myself face down in the muck one more time.

I thought being in a happy relationship, having great kids who are healthy, doing stuff I’m proud of would be my saviour.

Maybe this time of year is just emotional for everyone, regardless of grief, crappy pasts, sad news stories.

But oh, it was so nice to have that little grief monster to blame. So clean. So easy.

Because now I have to face the fact that maybe I’m just a Grinch, waiting for the minute my heart doesn’t feel quite so tight. The hole remains, which is both a comfort and a curse.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all. May all your hearts grow three sizes today.

Special thanks to Abigail Carter, author of “The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow’s Transformation” for allowing Hello Grief to republish this article, which she wrote during the 2012 holiday season.

Photo credit.


  1. Charlene Royston said on December 22, 2013 at 8:58 pm ... #

    At this time of the year I really feel my loss because I think that I need to be cheery for others and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what I have, but I get grumpy too. Guess what? That’s okay. It’s okay to miss them and to feel a hole in your life.

    You have been changed by this and of course life will not be the same. I don’t try to ‘get over it’ because that’s not how it works. I just try not to be so hard on myself when I do get grumpy because it is perfectly understandable and forgivable too. Just make the best of it because there is a new, different future waiting for you now and it can be good.

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