Grinch or Grief Elf?

GrinchYou’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.




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  1. Salty December 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

    From Pema


    Bodhichitta is our heart—our wounded, softened heart. Now, if you look for that soft heart that we guard so carefully—if you decide that you’re going to do a scientific exploration under the microscope and try to find that heart—you won’t find it. You can look, but all you’ll find is some kind of tenderness. There isn’t anything that you can cut out and put under the microscope. There isn’t anything that you can dissect or grasp. The more you look, the more you find just a feeling of tenderness tinged with some kind of sadness. This sadness is not about somebody mistreating us.

    This is inherent sadness, unconditioned sadness. It is part of our birthright, a family heirloom. It’s been called the genuine heart of sadness.

  2. annie December 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Grief is convenient but you are right that at a certain point – it’s probably not the culprit but the scapegoat. It’s okay, you know, to not buy into the artificial nature of holidays. Just because everything is good doesn’t make holidays less hectic, work or an imposition on one’s time and preferences. I used to love Christmas but now I realize what I loved was other people setting up Christmas and me just arriving and enjoying. The behind the scenes work is not so much fun and feeling grinchy about it is normal, in my opinion.

  3. Nancy Schatz Alton December 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I think your commenter Annie says it well. All that doing for others during the holidays turns me into a grinch…christmas morning was the worst of it after hosting Christmas eve. After great sleep last night and no more hosting or gift buying or cooking or cleaning left to do, and I am happy, happy, happy again..

  4. Diane January 1, 2013 at 8:34 am

    ROFL you’re just too funny. You were the same way 14-15 yrs ago. Just not a Christmas person! xx all the best to you in the new year ~

    1. Abigail - Site Author January 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Yup, the cat is out of the bag. I’m just a Grinch!

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