Uncomfortable with the anger

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A lifelong friend of mine passed away last week.  At first I felt numb.  Then I felt sadness and loss.  I accepted the condolences. I grieved.

And now I feel angry.

We are uncomfortable with feeling anger in general, and especially uncomfortable with feeling angry at someone who has died.  It doesn’t seem right, or “seemly.”

I guess the anger is one step in the process, on the path of acceptance and letting go. It must be felt.

It’s awkward, because you can’t publicly express your anger because “people will think you’re a bad person.”  And, what is the famous saying?  “Don’t speak ill of the dead.”

He was my friend, I cherish my memories, but he was cruel to the people who loved him.  That’s all I’ll say.  It’s so uncomfortable to admit these things and still try to grieve.

Life is messy, emotions are messy.  That’s what makes us human. So I wanted to share my messiness with you today.  The glorious stew of feelings. We are not perfect.

We only need to do two things in life.  The first, via the Dalai Lama, is to show compassion. That’s the most important thing, he says. Compassion.

And the second, is to live in the present.  The present is all we have.

I’ve let go of my anger now.  I accepted it, I felt it and I have forgiven him.  Forgiving is not about saying, “what he did was okay.”  Forgiveness is about letting go of your anger.

I can now grieve again and celebrate the good of his life. Each death puts a new hole in the heart. The only thing I can do is fill it with gratitude — for being a loving parent, friend and teacher, for helping my friends and students reach their dreams. To live beautifully and creatively. To inspire hope and goodness.

I wish you compassion and presence.  Carry on!

xo Liza

P.S.  The reason I decided to write this piece is because I know from writing that my feelings are universal, that you have felt these things too.  Nothing is a secret.

Hello my lovelies.  Dark topic today.  But liberating too! Please share your feelings in the comments box below. If I can do it, so can you. You know I ready every one. The comments are what make the blog alive!  And if you like our community of women living and thinking creatively, enter your email so you won’t miss a thing.

10 thoughts on “Uncomfortable with the anger

  1. Thank you for your honesty. Anger is one of the processes in grieving for a reason. But still we question–how can we possibly be angry? What good does it serve? It serves a very important good–it helps us move to acceptance, to recognizing that no one is perfect and that sometimes we will mourn not because we are sad, but because we are angry and can’t yell at that person for whatever we want to yell at them for in that moment. It is also a reminder that maybe there are people who will feel anger towards us when we are gone–what will we do about that while we still can? I have felt anger at those who I have lost, sometimes for reasons that honestly seem petty, other times because I wished things between us had been different. Sometimes because I wish they had “raged against the dying of the light.”

  2. You are such a beautiful writer, Liza. Your words communicate in abundance. I love reading about your thoughts even when the topic is ‘dark’, as you put it. I think speaking of death-related topics is very good for all because it forces us to process a little bit more than we otherwise would on that topic. I wholeheartedly agree that compassion and love are the most important elements of our lives. As a Christian, I am aware that it is one of the two commands Jesus gives us: “Love one another as you love yourselves.” Not always easy, but definitely worth the effort. I will say a prayer for you for a peaceful heart over the loss of your dear friend.

  3. Hi Liza

    It is good to get all those feelings out in the open.
    Also, it is good to take comfort in the the good
    memories shared with a loved one.

    Time seems to take care of us in the long run.

    May God bless you in this difficult time.

    Maria Elena

    1. Hi Maria, Thank you for writing. Yes, feelings out in the open, and then take comfort in the good memories. An excellent recommendation. Time is the great healer. Good old time. xo

  4. My son turned 17 and became eligible for a driver’s learner licence a few months after my husband died in 1990. Every time I was in the car with my son practising his driving, I was so so angry with my beloved husband for dying. Shouted at him in my mind asking him why he had to die and leave me to experience the terror of being in a car with a learner driver. Fortunately as my son gained more driving experience, my terror and anger abated.

    I also did a wonderful therapeutic exercise – sat alone at my dining table and wrote a letter to my husband detailing all the angry things. Made tea to get myself into a different frame of mind and read my letter aloud. Moved to the other side of the table and replied to my letter as if I was my husband. Words just flowed through me onto the page. The next morning I read both letters again, added anything else that sprang to mind and then burnt both letters and released the anger with love.

    1. Wow, Gail, what a great thing you did. I love the letter writing exercise. It’s important to really “see” the other person and accept their faults. I love that you released the anger with love. Thank you ever so much for writing. You made my day.

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