In grief theory, anger is the stage where we ask that oh-so-human question: why me? Other common thoughts during the anger phase: This isn't fair. What did I do to deserve this? Who is to blame? How could you possibly chew so damn loud!? (They don't include that last one in the grief literature but I'm sure it's legit.)
Anger is a tricky emotion for me. I'm afraid of it. I'm afraid of it in other people. It feels unfeminine. I'd prefer my grieving self to sit in a chair in the corner, draped in a black shawl, weeping quiet, dainty tears into a properly-ironed handkerchief. Instead my grieving self looks like a crazy red-faced woman, yelling obscenities at old ladies who DARE to drive 55 mph in the far left lane of 267. Anger is a flattering emotion, isn't it?
Anger also feels ungodly. It's tempting to think (and to assume others are thinking of me): If you were a good Christian woman, who actually believed what she professed, you would never admit that it feels like God has failed you. If you were grateful for the abundance of blessings you have and aware of the suffering of others, you wouldn't dare to protest "it isn't fair!" Being angry means you don't believe or trust God's plan for your life. What a disgusting pit of lies.
As people in the Bible go, I am particularly fond of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus and friend of Jesus. Mary gets all the credit for being so serene and devoted, but Martha was getting it done! I understand the impulse, my type A sister. (See Luke 10:38-42.) When their brother Lazarus got sick, Mary and Martha sent word to their friend Jesus, assuming he'd come to heal their brother as he had so many other people. But Jesus delays and doesn't come until Lazarus has been dead four days. Lazarus dies while Jesus takes his sweet time. The Bible doesn't tell us what Martha was feeling when she went out to meet Jesus when he finally showed up. But I can guess. She comes to Jesus and says: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." If you had been here. That's an accusation if I've ever heard one. I think it's probably safe to assume she was angry and hurt and confused. She knew Jesus both loved her brother and had the power to heal him. So where the freak had he been!? But then Martha says something else. She adds, "But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." Ahh...there it is. Accusation and faith. Confusion and belief. If you had been here and even now. "God, you let me down" and "God, you are faithful." Welcome to the paradox of faith, Kimberly.
So let's reject pretense yet again and just go ahead and admit that there are some things that absolutely enrage us. I'll start. Here's what I'm angry about today:
- I'm angry at the existence of all of the cars who join me on my commute home from work - especially the drivers from Maryland (sorry) who wait until the last possible minute to get into the exit lane on the GW parkway and slow down the rest of us.
- I'm angry that life is getting back to normal when I still feel anything but normal. I'm angry at expectations that I'll get more over it as every day passes. I'm angry that grief doesn't work like that and that a week since learning about this loss, I feel more devastated than ever.
- I'm angry at people I thought I had forgiven and who suddenly I just want to kick in the shins for past and current hurts. Hard.
- I'm angry that my husband lacks the ability to read my mind. I'm angry at myself for expecting him to and then being heinous to him when he doesn't. I'm angry at this anger that makes me mean and unkind and demanding to this man who is just trying to love the crazy person he married.
- I'm angry at my body for failing my babies.
- I'm angry at God. I'm angry that having life literally torn from my body hurts so effing bad, as if my heart feeling shattered isn't enough. I'm angry that child molesters get babies. I'm angry that Todd and I haven't yet, when our babies would be so well-loved (and extremely well-named).
- I'm angry that I feel so guilty for feeling angry.