“I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate collections of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” Helen Keller
I met with my counselor yesterday and realized throughout the exploration of our session that I am entering a new phase of my grief process; one that isn’t easy for me to write about or even deal with yet real all the same. The phase of anger.
For me it feels like such an ugly stage to admit, even if it is how I am truly feeling. The emotions of anger are frightening, depressing and hard to manage. When asked who I am angry with I usually respond, “I am angry with life.” So, who is life? The guy who killed Shawn? My family? Shawn himself? God?
If I want to really be honest, I am angry with God. This is different than trust. I still trust him to be all knowing, all loving and ultimately in control. I can’t explain how I can trust in the middle of my anger, but I will consider my faith a blessing that exists even when I can’t clarify. Still, I am angry that God created a world with pain. I am angry that God allows bad things to happen to good people. I am angry that I have to spend a lifetime without Shawn when I loved the idea of spending a lifetime with him. I am angry that I have to be a single parent. It is less than glorious. I am angry that many couples are fortunate to stay together. I am angry.
Never am I angry with Shawn. Never do I feel he abandoned me. Never do I feel betrayed by him. I am not mad at him for the circumstance of our separation. I am angry that he had no choice in this matter. And knowing my husband he would be very angry, too.
This is a valley I am walking through, or maybe I should say crawling. I am not at the point of kicking and screaming my way out of it, but I definitely am disenchanted with the hurtful, deep saddened state of anger. I would love to find a quick way out of this phase. I prefer to feel more composed in my grieving journey.
Still, for some reason, I am not surprised by the jostling manner of anger working itself through me. Nor was my counselor. In our hour together, she pointed out one of my major struggles; I do not walk my journey of loss alone. I am taking two young children through these valleys with me. Herein lies a deep burden of responsibility and often guilt.
Although I hope to be a strong mother for my kids, I will experience many crests and chasms along the way. Each new developmental stage for my children is a new adjustment to life without Shawn for all of us. I notice vividly that he is not here to be a co-parent, to discuss discipline issues, to experience each new first in life or share each new personality step. As my children grow, he is not a part of our history making. He becomes an amazing tribute to our past, but not a living piece of our future (living in the sense of a physical body on earth).
I am on a lifelong journey. Anger is one point I have to cross along the way, possibly several times. This is the door I stand in front of. I am now at a point where I am ready to open the door, not so much to invite anger in as to admit anger exists. This is a new time in my grieving process to recognize the role anger plays for me in my loss. It is a time to distinguish and define the position of anger in my heart. Even though it causes great suffering, anger can also be a catalyst to ignite passion. I refuse to let go of hope.
God, even when I am angry at you, please walk with me in my anger. Let me tell you the truth so that in my transparency you can use my angered spirit to move me in a way I otherwise could not be moved. I may never move mountains in my life, but I pray that I will move in the direction you are leading – even if it feels like I am moving in very small ways. Teach me how to manage my anger. Do not let the rage of loss defeat me. Steady my temper with awareness. Awaken me to the next step I need to take.