Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Did The Grinch Have it Right?

As a kid I would watch the holiday classics where Santa got sick and couldn’t fly the sleigh, or decided to cancel Christmas and the Heat Miser took over. Rudolph’s parents got deer-napped by the Adominable Snowman and I would be appalled, scared and outraged.

How could they even consider the thought of cancelling Christmas!!!???? How could they even write about it? Produce a children’s TV show? Simply awful….and terrifying.

Christmas: Santa, presents, treats, vacation, all that is good, innocent and somewhat decadent in childhood.

I am now older and search for meaning.

This year I’m wondering if the Grinch didn’t have it right. Maybe he got tired of being bombarded with tidings of comfort and joy on November 1st. Maybe he couldn’t think of anything good to say in his holiday card. Maybe his Christmas goose was cooked.

I struggle this holiday season.

And in my struggles, I have found others who are struggling too. I ran into one of Samantha’s therapists today who told me she lost her niece two years ago.

“Christmas is always a little sad,” she said.

One of hubbie’s coworkers lost her husband three weeks ago in a car accident. They have two boys. I think of her often this Christmas season.

Bah friggn’ humbug.

I wonder if they feel the same as I do when wandering through the produce aisle and listening to a scratchy rendition of “Have a holly, jolly, Christmas. It’s the best time of the year. Oh by golly, have a holly, jolly Christmas this year.”

By golly my right ear. Don’t you tell me to have a holly, jolly Christmas Mr. Sinatra, don’t even try.

You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness, Of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch.

Given the choice between the two of you. I’d take the seasick crocodile.

I have not written a Christmas card. It seems trite. I glance at cards with sweet angels singing, Santas stuck in the chimney, puppies in a stocking…..bleech. You all know how we’re doing. You know what we’re up against. We don’t need a card to connect.

I know you know because you drop angel bags off on our front porch. You hand me cards of holiday encouragement in the midst of parties. You send us notes that make me smile. You hold my hand a little tighter when we are saying goodbye. You look me in the eye.

This means much more than a fruitcake.

So please excuse my bout of holiday disdain. This year is about survival, about not throwing the TV through the window when seeing another miracle child from St. Jude, about searching deeply to find the meaning of the season and this year is about missing our girl.

Today I saw my sister-in-law who is having an awful week.

“Hold my hand,” she said, “hold it tightly.”

“Thank you,” I said squeezing her hand, “I just don’t feel the spirit of the season.”

“This is our spirit,” she said, “right here, right now, holding each others’ hand.”

I took her hand and kissed it.

Merry Christmas my wandering, searching souls. My we all find some peace.

9 thoughts on “Did The Grinch Have it Right?”

  1. Amen. So be it. The “spirit” is mighty elusive this year, for so many reasons. Which is why I've become such a lush–good thing my husband's new hobby is making beer. Care to join me?? I'd love, love, love to imbibe with my real, raw, truly authentic namesake. Smooch.


  2. Holding on tight with you. I hope you do find something beautiful and special this Christmas. It absolutely won't be the same, but I still hope for you and Bart you are able to. Love you friend. I hope all your travels are safe ones this week.


  3. I think the Grinch does have it right sometimes. And there's a reason that those kinds of grinchy stories resonate with people. I think maybe you should go out and get some big grinch slippers and a bottle of wine. (I have both, by the way). And you know we're holding you close to our hearts this season. And always, actually. (and I also want to throw something at the TV for various “miracle” commercials sometimes as well). Much love from all of us!


  4. My husband and I unexpectedly lost my youngest stepson ten years ago Thanksgiving week. A week after his 29th birthday. I know exactly how you feel about the spirit lacking and the Christmas cards. Even listening to the radio seemed trite. It has gotten somewhat better, but there are still years I can't bring myself to decorate and cards are a chore. My saying those years has been, “fa la la la la, dammit!” Thinking of you and so many other friends who will be celebrating Christmas missing a loved one.


  5. I so understand and get really groucy with all the Christmas cheer and overload. Seems that I miss my Smooch so more right now.But, every so often, I sense her presence or she “kicks me in the rear” to do something I really don't feel like doing.And, I can't bring myself to do Christmas cards either. I bought them, but…….Hang on tight my fabulous daughter. It will soon be a new year.Love,love,love you!!!Mom


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