Good Grief

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

GOOD GRIEF! It feels like all the saddest things happen during the holidays. It feels like loved ones pass away, families quarrel, and friends hold grudges. It feels like spouses are unfaithful, lives are uprooted, and we become burdened by painful memories. Mostly, it feels like grief always makes its move during the holidays.

And when grief moves in, we don’t feel like sitting around a dinner table together. We don’t feel like playing games, singing songs, or watching holiday movies. We don’t feel like lighting candles, hanging twinkle lights, or baking cookies. Instead, we lie awake with worry, alternating crying into our pillows and plotting escape or revenge, or just mustering the strength to reach over to our laptops to post some cryptic Facebook status, and wallow in the comments of concerned, inquisitive e-friends.

Then (when we’re done with the wallowing and such) we tap into our loving, joyous selves and come to an understanding that, whether it be good or bad, energy begets energy. We must know that we could feel that much-hyped “comfort and joy” everybody sings about, if we make a conscientious differentiation between our grief and the holiday season, because though they often coincide, they are not one and the same. We must know that when we dedicate our energy to joy, the holiday spirit is strong enough to overpower holiday grief.

We overpower grief with celebration and creation, simply by accessing the most creative, celebratory parts of ourselves and thriving on that loving, glowing energy. So, regardless of what we celebrate — we CELEBRATE. We celebrate by moving our beautiful, living bodies. We celebrate by setting the table, playing games, singing songs, and watching holiday movies. We celebrate by lighting candles, hanging twinkle lights, and baking cookies. We celebrate with glitter… and chocolate!

And as we begin to lift the joy of the season above our feelings of grief, we are then able to realize that grief too has a purpose in our lives. Grief is a teacher and a guide, offering us the gift of gratitude and hope, independence and self-compassion. Grief forces itself into our lives to enlighten us and give us perspective. Thus, we begin to understand that grief comes to us during the holidays, not to ruin our spirits or intensify our pain, but rather to be softened by the bright, loving, and nostalgic atmosphere of the season, so that our hearts may heal in the light of real comfort and joy. 

So, together let us celebrate truly good grief. Together we celebrate good grief with wrapping paper and ribbon, old timey songs and home cooked meals. Together we celebrate good grief with loud, messy, unapologetically elaborate holiday spirit.



“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.”
― Charles M. Schulz



24 thoughts on “Good Grief

    • That’s right Hannah, we must carry on with the traditions. My mother passed away Oct 12th this year from Pancreatic Cancer, and I didn’t feel like doing Thanksgiving dinner because she is now gone. I know she would have wanted me to cook for the family, so I did just that. I’m glad I did, the family really enjoyed themselves and so did I:) God bless you and your family.

  1. Very articulate, your expressions regarding “good grief.” Yes, the Christmas holiday season does always seem a bit poignant to me, too. But, I do rise above my grief and the “special Christmas joy” springs forth to calm and cheer! Sending along special Christmas/New Year sentiments to you, dear Hannah, beautiful Susie, handsome Graham & adorable Britta! Love, Hugs, Prayers, Susan Wise

  2. Thank you ,Hannah, for the wonderful perspective you share. I will take it to heart. And I am grateful that you and your family and all the great memories of your Dad are a part of my life.

  3. DEAR HANNAH” Thank you so much for your enlightening prose. I always enjoy reading your articles and clearly you offer healing in what you say. May your Holidays gentle you into the season of healing and “good grief”. Sincerely, Jackie Owens

  4. So appropriate for me this year….my husband, Glenn passed away last February(one week after our 46th anniversary) and my father passed away in May 2014. Brought a somewhat smile to my face, as Glenn always said there was not such thing as “Good Grief”. I enjoy your thoughts and I enjoy your brother’s music!

  5. You are your fathers daughter, that was just what I needed. Now I’m going to stop and buy a Three Musketeers bar on my way back from taking my niece to winter drumline auditions…and on another subject, how’s the Miss California 2015 pageant coming along. You are the most beautiful person, inside and out. 🙂

  6. You’re such a gifted writer ( just like you’d Dad!😀). Thank you for helping me put ‘good grief’ in perspective! I’ll remember this as I get up to work tomorrow morning!

  7. Thank you Hannah. My mother passed away Tuesday… reading this helps..I’m in total grief right now..I’ll have to trust that it will get better. Keep writing Hannah..sending best wishes and love to you and your family..Your Dad was awesome..and I’m sure he’s watching over you…Blessings, Diane Middleton

  8. Hannah! I LOVED what you wrote……This year I spent my time making gifts for others and was so filled with the real spirit of the Christmas season…….My grief still lingers, but it has faded and hides now…..Not so daring any longer! I just laugh and now will say there is such a thing as GOOD GRIEF! Hugs to you and blessing too! Thank you for writing this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s