The first year of David’s death I felt nothing – I would have preferred to stay numb but the following year brought a profound sense of sorrow. My life and my journey would not stop there – unfortunately. My new companion was now the anger, it arrived without warning – dark and spiraling. The intensity was sometimes frightening and unexplainable, always without aim. Anger tends to come and go before it is finally resolved and yes – anger can be resolved and it should be.
I was incensed by the inappropriate things that were said – offered in the way of condolences. But good widows are suppose to be appreciative most of all gracious – what did that say about me if I could not smile politely and say thank you because you believed that my husband was an interchangeable part of my life – simply replaceable with time. There were people in my life that let me know of their disapproval in how I was handling my process but I had to own this part of my journey no matter how uncomfortable it was for anyone else – eventually my anger isolated me. The phone calls and invites became few and far between until they just ceased altogether.
Anger is but one of the many emotional reactions to the painful reality of death. It was important for me to recognize that anger was a natural, human response to what had occurred in my life. The only way around it was through it – Anger is a private protest a way of denying what has happened. It is the most acute, the most intense and therefore the most frightening. Anger is also retrieval – we seek to find, discover the author of the death but it dangerously feeds the hope that death can be reversed. Eventually we must accept that no matter how unfair or untimely it is, death cannot be undone. Our sense of powerlessness can erupt into anger. Anger is a means of control – it is our defense against the impotence we feel. That feeling of helplessness may be the most painful dimension of our loss but I had to forgive myself and accept that there was nothing I could have done to prevent my husband’s death.
A Widow’s apathy is definitely easier to approach [deal with] then a Widow’s anger and while we don’t mean to be difficult – Grief can look like a lot of things; hyperactivity, distractedness, anger, energy, ennui, numbness, confusion just to name a few. I would love to see more compassion for one another especially to those who are grieving – so that they’ll never feel the desperate need to hide away their sadness, sorrow or anger. The most empty phrase came in the way of “call me if you need anything” – we don’t call and I have often wondered if you weren’t glad that I didn’t. The truth is we don’t know what we need our day-to-day activities are centered around surviving each moment, each memory. If we don’t attend with the first invitation – invite again. There was no understanding that gatherings were just a cruel reminder of my husband’s absence. I didn’t want to be absent I just didn’t know how I fit anymore.“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” -Leo Buscaglia
I am eternally grateful to those who led with compassion and gave with their presence – I found my voice and a healthy expression in all of the stages of my anger. The result has been forgiveness and a new perspective.