Friday, April 13, 2012

Grief: Listening To My Anger

I was walking home from exercise today.  It is beautiful here in NYC.  Perfect weather; sunny but not too hot.  I have many good things planned this weekend.  Very little, actually, to complain about.  Then it occurred to me that I am angry.  I have never thought of myself as being angry about Artie's death.  Sad, lonely, confused - but not angry.  He had a good long life and I gave him a comfortable loving death.  I have - as people have been following me know - tried hard to let him be an inspiration.  To let our love continue to bring me the happiness it did when we were alive. 

I don't mind anger.  I rather like it.  It has a lot energy to it and if it is directed appropriately can be a useful tool.  I don't know why I haven't thought about it in terms of Artie's death.  I've let anger be directed in a lot of places.  I want to be the calm in the eye of the storm but I get angry when people don't take responsibility for their actions.  I get angry at people who are cruel, or who even lack simple courtesy.  Sometimes I get angry at silly things like tourists walking too slowly because they are amazed by the city I am used to living in.  My anger is often out of proportion to what is causing it.  Why?  I think because I have been ignoring the fact that I want to have a terrific temper tantrum about the simple fact my husband is dead. The anger that should be focused like a laser on that is shooting out at other things.

My shoulders are sore from exercise.  I'm angry that Artie can't rub my back.  I'm angry that I can't share this great new TV series with him.  I'm angry that I learned something today and I can't see the look on his face when I tell him.  I'm angry that I can't go for a walk through the park with him. I'm angry that he can't hold me.  I'm even angry we can't have a fight.  I know that he didn't leave me because he wanted to.  He left because his body was too sick to stay.  I believe now - I hope - as many do - that he is with me.  I always stand on his shoulders. I'm always supported by his love.  But damn, I've got this earthly existence and I want to be sharing it with him.  I don't want to try to find a new love.  I have a one true love.

There is a character on a British TV show New Tricks.  His wife is dead and in the back yard are lit paving stones and a plaque to her.  He often goes out and talks to her.  His guy friends were talking about him having sex and he got angry.  He said, "Don't talk about me like that.  I'm married."  I know he is an actor playing a character but I like the way his character is written.  I'm angry that I'm married and not married at the same time.  I don't want to have figure out all this stuff that is impossible to figure out.  I just want Artie to smile at me.  I want to see a face that doesn't exist anymore.  I want to see the twinkle in eyes that don't exist any more.  I used to like to look at our hands when they were clasped together.  He doesn't have hands now. 

This can't be solved by falling in love with a new person.  I might. But the best man in the world will be a new person, it won't be Artie.  This can't be solved by going out and doing fun things.  I do.  This can't be solved by helping other people.  I do.  I have a situation that is mine for the rest of my life.  I'm angry about it.  Someone once asked, "What's the best way to die?" and the other person answered, "First.  Die first."

Do I want to be dead?  No.  I have many things I am grateful for and many adventures to experience.  I have my daughter and grandbaby.  And yet...I'm angry that as long as I keep living I can't be with my husband. 

So there.  That's it.  My temper tantrum.  I'm still going out tonight.  I'm still trying to get my energy to flow.  I think, though, I'm going to allow these moments of anger through and not try to be happy about something I'm not happy about.  Maybe part of the part of me that is still stuck is the part that is trying to hold the anger down.  Maybe if I say once a day, "Hey - you - Artie Dazzle - I love you but I'm angry that you're dead.  We promised each other that nobody would leave.  I don't blame you but I hate being left here alone!" I can let it go and focus on other things.

All I know is today - for these few minutes - I am embracing my anger.  Then when I finish - I can put it back in my emotional closet and have time to express other emotions.  I spent too much of my life saying, "It's okay." when it wasn't okay.  So many people - especially after all this time want me to not care about it any more.  Well, I do.  A lot. 

I also had a great week and I hope I have a great weekend.  Keep showing up.  Keep allowing the happy moments in along with the other ones.  I've been telling people I'm going to change my first name to Malcontenta.  Maybe if I express my anger sometimes I won't have to. I can be Joy too. 

Here's to every side of life.  I may be different that others but I think I'll miss my bliss if I don't get to be real wherever I am, whatever I'm feeling.  I don't want a fake smile.  I want a smile that goes all the way through - that I don't have to work so hard for.  I don't want to lie like I hear so many people doing - saying they are fine when it is obvious they are falling apart.  Tomorrow maybe I'll be standing up for peace and love - today I'm standing up for anger.   Whew.  That actually felt good.  With extra love and hugs.  xo

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