Over the years I dealt with anger after loss in many different ways and continue to do so. What I didn’t realize until today is that I have developed a pretty detailed way to deal with it. Someone from my Life Starters community asked me about anger today.
What do we do with it?
How do we deal with anger after loss?
I never really wrote or shared about this before. About this thing I know you too have felt.
The feeling of being angry when our lives are stripped away from us by some force.
When this force (some call it destiny) comes in and takes away the people we love, we feel anger. Rage even.
And let me just say, it’s a physical thing first and foremost.
Then when it’s not expressed it becomes something that resides inside of us more permanently.
More intimately. But without intimacy. Without any love.
Today’s letter is about anger.
The kind we are ashamed to share with anyone.
The kind that no matter how loud it is we manage to hide it.
When a human can hide a hurricane inside their chest you can’t even begin to imagine the magnitude of the inner destruction.
I want to peel all the layers of the hurricane away and leave you with an almost blue sky.
When he died many things happened that were not just about grief, but about logistics, and finances, and single parenting and an avalanche of hell.
One of the things was my credit score.
We had the perfect credit score.
We paid all of our bills on time.
But here is what I didn’t know.
All of our credit cards had his social security number as a primary and it was his credit score that was perfect. Mine…Well….There was no score.
When I went to open a new account at the bank a few days after he died, they would not let me.
They offered me an account where I could spend 300 dollars a month, for six months to build my score.
I walked out of that bank and drove directly to the cemetery.
Parked my car in front of his stone and got out.
I walked towards the place where I went every day to talk to him and started quietly yelling. Quietly screaming.
How dare you leave me here like this?
How could you do this to me?
There was no rationale.
No common sense. Just rage.
I was so mad at him.
I picked myself up from the grass in front of the stone and walked back to the car.
Got in and went back to find my life in a thousand pieces.
And there were many pieces being added every minute of the day.
Rage was living inside of me for good it seemed at the time.
I was angry at everything and everyone.
I am surprised my face didn’t change to look meaner. Uglier. Scarier.
But I held the hurricane inside so well. Unless you were a bystander at the cemetery that day you wouldn’t be able to see the hurricane.
As the years went by the anger went away and when new anger came in for other things I developed a way to deal with it.
And I want to share it with you.
The first thing I do when I feel anger now is express it.
Express it physically without hurting myself or anyone else.
This can look like kicking something, or punching the wall or going for a hike and running up the hill fast and furious.
Or putting loud music on and dancing your heart out.
You get what I mean.
Then the verbal expression comes after that.
I express it by sharing it with someone in all its glory.
I tell it like it is.
How I feel.
No embarrassment. No lack of profanities.
If you don’t have a person like this in your life find a therapist who you love or join a community of people who are going through the same journey as you.
Then I do a grief/anger cleanse which is writing about letting go of that anger that occupied so much space inside of me.
Anger leaves a lot of energy that needs to be redirected.
As well as emptiness that feels sad.
It is important to let go of that by cleansing it.
You can cleanse it by writing in your journal.
You can cleanse it by buying some flowers for your house, or going close to the water or mountains and crying.
Lastly, I heal it by creating something.
I write. I write and write. Not in a cleansing way but with creative and beautiful writing.
I put my energy of that anger somewhere else where it can impact my world. The world. Something bigger than me.
Even as I write this, I feel the peace that comes after the anger expression, cleansing and healing.
The hurricane moves out of us and into a bigger more natural space.
We then start to build castles with all the beauty we have buried inside of us after loss.
So tonight, when you go to bed throw some pillows around your bed. Kick them. Make a mess of your bedding then sit down and write something. Start by expressing the hurricane you have been hiding inside.
I know for certain that you have felt angry after your life fell apart.
Very often the people and circumstances that we want to direct our anger towards are not easy to get to. We have no outlet. No validation. No witnessing. No container to do this work.
But it has to be done. And I know you can do this.
Oh yes, I do.
With life and many hurricanes,