Or, at least it was for me. Sometimes, it still is.
Anger is one of the well-known five stages of grief. I’d known about the five stages pre-widdahood, but since I’d never lost anyone extremely close to me, I didn’t truly “get” how anger factored in much. Depression? Certainly–that one’s a “gimme”. Bargaining? Yup, that also seemed logical for the bereaved to wish they could barter for their loved one’s life to be restored.
But, anger? I could never have predicted how angry I would become. And still am, at times.
It took a little over a month after my husband died for the anger to take root. And once it did, it was an incendiary fury. I was angry that my husband’s young life was over, livid at the seemingly random injustice of his brain tumor, of his death, fuming at how my life came apart at the seams upon his death, and ignited by the intact innocence that those couples around me still thrived within.
Soon, many other issues had my ire up. Real or perceived sleights…it mattered not, I was still miffed enough for two people. Ignorant–but ultimately innocuous–comments made by friends and strangers alike–I was steamed.
And so commenced the venting, the rants, the scathing assessments of others, and the cursing.
Oh my goodness, the cursing.
I’d really not been one to curse much formerly (save for a brief, experimental phase in middle school), and I also didn’t care to keep company around those who regularly did. Not that I judged them, it was mainly a preference thing for me.
And then I was widowed.
All the sudden, I was tossing out the F – bomb like it was my job. My vocabulary now included an arsenal of expletives at the ready, and my conversations would often be littered with a litany of them, if my mood was particularly sour. (Which, it frequently was).
This alarmed my family and friends, especially the sacrosanct ones. This departure from my former self, whose regular language was hosed down in antiseptic, was too jarring and dramatic for them. Some of them started to avoid me or even abruptly end conversations with me if I started up.
I spoke candidly about this to my counselor, who happens to be Christian. He was not especially surprised or disconcerted. His thought was that it’s better to go through my emotions and all that that entailed, rather than try and go around them. He told me that God is big enough to take my anger and handle my cursing. He further stated that anger feels more like a position of strength rather than the feeling of helplessness associated with depression; in that way, anger is useful.
And I was so grateful for the freedom to express, not repress, my anger.
I needed to; it was a necessary evil. My counselor further postulated that eventually I’d revert to what is authentically me. And he was right. While I can’t claim that my words are always benign and sterile these days, I’m not as likely to erupt in a maelstrom of language suitable for an R-rated movie.
Unprovoked, that is. Lol.
But, seriously. Anger is a part of the widda’s journey. While I’m not advising you to embrace it, I am advising you to give place to it. It’s part of the grieving process. You may find yourself utilizing language you never have before. Or maybe not. Perhaps you throw things in rage and disgust…Who knows what shape your anger may take.
Whether those around you advocate your anger or not, you need to let it wash over you and through you, so that you can move forward, eventually.
Be angry and do not sin–Ephesians 4:26