Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dredging Up Anger, Part 2

There’s no need to force the anger, I tell myself. Just let it out when it surges. But my anger at Noah is so stuck, it takes will to dredge it up

I close all the windows. I try hitting a pillow while shouting and am quickly exhausted. I try punching and jabbing the air to loud drumming music. Nothing feels right. Finally, I bring out a pile of newspaper and begin ripping it to pieces. With each tear come tears as I think how Noah’s suicide RIPPED out my heart, TORE off a limb, SPLIT apart our family and peace of mind—and how I wish I could have torn the demons from his mind and ripped the date he died from the calendar. The action finally fits the feeling.

Anger at suicide loss goes beyond words. It’s not pure, clean rage but raging sorrow/sorrowful rage that is part of complicated grief. It’s hard to be mad at someone for dying (as in the traditional stages of grief) when they are the cause of their own death--and when they are the child who was under your protective care. For me, the anger gets trapped and tangled up in other feelings before it can even speak its name. I have to learn to sit with it, to make room for the unruly tumble that comes crowding in. No wonder it’s been an unproductive summer, full of procrastination, fatigue, and resistance. I am, literally, at a loss.

I’ll keep looking for ways to tap into anger. Maybe yelling into a wilderness abyss, finger painting on butcher paper, or tearing out pictures to make collage, as Sharon Strouse teaches in Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing . “I allow the coulds, shoulds and would haves to explode out of my guts,” she writes. “I honor my rage and give it all its due” in creating collage like her masterful “Code Red" .

Calling all old magazines! And recipes for anger unleashed.

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