Short Stories About Grief

These stories will have main characters experiencing and coping with grief.

See also Death

Misery | Anton Chekhov

Iona Potapov is the driver of a horse-drawn sleigh. His mind isn’t on his work due to a recent tragedy. He tries to talk to his passengers about his feelings.

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The End of Old Horse | Simon J. Ortiz

Two brothers, Native American boys, go to a creek to fish and keep cool on a hot day. On their way, they see Old Horse, a dog, tied up, straining excitedly against his rope. They tell the owner, but he says to ignore it.

Easter Night (Eve) | Anton Chekhov

The narrator takes a ferry across the river to attend an Easter service. The monk who works on the ferry is mourning the death of his friend, a fellow monk.

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War | Luigi Pirandello

Passengers on a train carriage argue over who feels the most grief over their sons lost in WW I.

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The Last Lovely City | Alice Adams

Benito Zamora, a doctor and widower, is invited to a dinner party by a young woman. He sees several people he is acquainted with, but he keeps to himself a lot.

A Temporary Matter | Jhumpa Lahiri

Shoba had a miscarriage six months ago, three weeks before she was due. She and her husband Shukumar get a notice from the electric company saying their power will be off for an hour for five consecutive evenings. While eating in candlelight, they decide to play a game where they will reveal something previously kept secret from each other.

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The Peach Stone | Paul Horgan

A married couple, their son, and a teacher are taking a long car ride. The previous day, the couple’s two-year-old daughter had died in a fire. They are going to bury the dead child in the family plot.

Currents | Hannah Bottomy

Gary drinks at night, and his mother tucks his daughters into bed, telling them they’ll swim tomorrow and shouldn’t be afraid of the water. A Filipino boy had drowned, and the narrative moves back in time to fill in the day’s events.

Read “Currents”

The Management of Grief | Bharati Mukherjee

Shaila Bhave is an Indian Canadian woman mourning the loss of her husband and two sons in a plane crash. She is in a daze, and everything seems to remind her of her loss.

A Curtain of Green | Eudora Welty

Mrs. Larkin is an elderly widow. She spends her days from morning until dark working in her garden. She is focused on planting whatever she can, and isolates herself from her community.

Read “A Curtain of Green”

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place | Ernest Hemingway

An old man sits alone in a café and drinks, as is his custom. Two waiters talk about the man’s life and wish he would go home.

Read “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”