Monday, February 26, 2007

Anger revisited?

I thought I knew what the anger phase of grief looked like. I thought I knew what it felt like. I realize now that I didn't have a clue. There is this raw and primal feeling gnawing at me all the time now. Like I could punch the nearest person....throw my phone at the wall...clear my desk with one swoop of my arm...scream, "Are you SERIOUS?" at anyone who bothers me with their pointless drivel.

When I first lost Alex, I remember emailing with a woman who had lost her child about how one day she just lost it and ripped apart her kitchen...dishes AND cupboards. That's how I feel. Like I could demolish a room all with my bare hands.

I almost gave the meat man at the grocery store the what-for yesterday. Sam and I were shopping and as we were leaving the meat department, he approached me with a package of hamburger that had an obvious adult finger puncture through the plastic wrap and into the meat. He said, "I'm not saying he did it (pointing at the package), but you might want to check under his fingernails because he could get sick if he puts raw meat into his mouth." I'm not saying he did it but... Are you kidding me?!?! Of course you're saying he did it! Never mind the gaggle of children running amok just prior to our arrival in your little world of meat. Never mind that the hold definitely looked adult size...not four year old size. Never mind that Sam, though talking a lot during our shopping, did not leave my side at all. And don't have a good name for you. What's your problem? Find the nearest child and unload your frustration on him? OF COURSE YOU'RE SAYING HE DID IT...and by extension, that I'm not a good enough mother to watch my son in the let's not dress it up in polite crap. OK?

See? a little bit of anger.

I suppose anger is better than sadness. At least with anger I'm not in tears at inopportune moments (Did I tell you I started to cry when a JUDGE asked me how I was "really doing?" Yep...there's professionalism for you.). But its omnipresence is really starting to grow old. I flipped out Friday night on Steve about which television service we should get for our new tv. It's a good thing Steve called the Dish customer service line...because they would not have known what hit them if it had been me.

Seriously...when is this going to END?

Part of the problem is that I'm starting to finally feel that isolation that people warned me about. Enough time has passed that I'm supposed to be back to normal. I am socially expected to have moved on. The cards and letters and kind emails have stopped. I was never one to have a lot of friends...but now there are virtually none. Despite how much I hurt, I'm supposed to plaster a smile on my face and move forward. I know I have a responsibility to not be the friend that is always sucking everyone else's energy. But I feel like I'm running on empty and I have nothing to offer anyone right now.

Part of the problem is that I have recently taken stock of all the things we have been cheated out of. I mean, I KNEW before...but now I FEEL it. All the lost moments. All the futures that will never be. All the things not said or felt. What do I do with the knowledge that my son would rather go to daycare than stay home...because then he would have someone to play with? Who do I complain to about that?

The other day it hit me that I will never have an "I love you" exchange with two of my children. I will never develop little rituals like snuggling and watching Charlie and Lola before bed. I will never hear my boys laugh with abandon at something that is only funny in the mind of a four year old. We will never have a family hug that includes our whole family. And it is the absence of those things...those things that seem so small...that make me so very angry that I could destroy something.


Heather said...

I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I wish I could say something to make it easier. :( Let me just say this: you are in no way "sucking everyone else's energy." Your friends would never think of your grief in that way.

MB said...

Oh Catherine. I wish I could give you a hug and a visit to the nearest gym with a punching bag. I get the anger. I felt/feel the anger more than the sadness, have from day one. I'm sorry.

DD said...

Some days I know I should "move on" as well, but you know what? I don't want to. For me it's easier to remain angry and remember then to possible feel peaceful and forget. And I don't just mean that about my miscarriages, but everything over the past two years.

Sarah said...

I'm not very good at the moving on concept... And am angry a lot... A year ago or so I was wandering through the book section at a large grorcery store and ended up buying this book:

Good Grief
by Lolly Winston

Thirty-six-year-old Sophie Stanton desperately wants to be a good widow-a graceful, composed, Jackie Kennedy kind of widow. Alas, she is more of the Jack Daniels kind. Self-medicating with ice cream for breakfast, breaking down at the supermarket, and showing up to work in her bathrobe and bunny slippers-soon she's not only lost her husband, but her job, house...

For being a cheesy sort of quick read, I found I could relate to the main character. And some of the passages describe non-pretty grief pretty well.

Jen said...

Hey mama...I don't know how you feel in terms of it being long enough to get back to the "real world", b/c Catti died so recently I'm not really there yet. But I know when my mom died, when I was 21, I felt the same way. For awhile I had all this awesome love and support and then all of a was like I should just be over it. And everyone else's lives went on, but I was forever without my mom, and for milestone times (I got married like six months after she died, etc) I think I am really blessed this time to have a lot of supportive people in my life, who will continue to offer the support i need, and also i think it's ok to realize it's a season in your life where you may not have much to give. often you don't realize how much you give just by being. but even so, there are times when people in my life have had nothing to give me, but now when i need them, they have been giving me so's a cycle of life i think.

sorry to ramble, my heart just goes out to you *hugs*

Bronwyn said...

I wonder if the anger ever completely goes away. It still catches me unawares on occasion with such a ferocity that I fear I may break something. (Stomping my feet loudly and throwing a few pillows around sometimes helps a bit)

So, here's a (((hug))) and remember that we're here for you to vent at whenever you need to.

Brenda said...

Huge hugs!
I hate how the sadness, anger and guilt sneaks up on you.


kate said...

*I'm* not expecting you to 'move on', even if i don't email very often ;)

I think the anger/sadness just goes in cycles...and i hope you are able to be on an upward cycle soon...and yeah, smashing things helps too...

msfitzita said...

I think anger is an unfortunate side effect of sorrow. I have it too, and it bursts out quite unexpectedly. And shockingly.

I don't know what the answer is, but part of me thinks it's good that we are still capable of feeling anything at all. Anger isn't nice to feel, but it means we're not numb. It means that the sorrow hasn't completely smothered us. It means we can still feel.

As far as enough time passing, I read a document (intended for physicians) that indicated that most parents who lose a child say it takes between 2 and 5 years to start feeling "normal" again - or to have fully embraced the "new normal", I suppose.

You had sorrow heaped upon sorrow. I believe this about everyone, but you especially shouldn't have to (or try to) fit into the "standard" time frame for healing from losses as profound as yours.

It's a journey, and you get there when you get there.

And I'm always here walking with you, if that helps at all.