Anger After Loss

Anger After Loss, Robin Botie in Ithaca, New York, letting go of inner angerAround the table bereaved friends spoke of anger. I listened as I scoured the closets of my mind for some story of my own anger. I found none. When my turn came to share I told them that, not wholly believing it myself.
“I need to get in touch with my inner anger,” I said, joking as the group disbanded shortly after. But it was not a joke. Across the clouded screen in my head subtitles flashed, “In Denial.” Because who was I to escape anger? Isn’t anger one of the stages of grief? I would be a rare case if I didn’t harbor some anger after loss. Most likely I had simply not faced it yet.

“This is very rare,” my doctor said, the next day. He put down my files and waited for my reaction. I sat in silence trying to picture the redundant crisscrossing, floppy colon he was describing. My colon.
“I’m a rare case?” I asked, like maybe I’d won a great prize. But really I was wondering, Why me? My stomach was rumbling. I already gave, I told myself, as in: I already gave up my daughter who died of cancer. As in: here I am trying to live my life bigger and better and how am I supposed to do that when I’m losing my health? And why is it that the more tests you doctors do, the more diagnoses I’m given? I’m still suffering from my original symptoms. And: I’m not angry; I’m just scared for my life.

Because maybe I’ve swallowed my anger for so long that it’s turned my insides floppy, upside down and backwards.

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8 thoughts on “Anger After Loss

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    I’m sorry you’re still struggling physically, Robin. I’m glad to know. I don’t know if your body is reflecting anger. Seems only you can know this. It’s the kind of thing I explore, too. If you didn’t have anger before, your medical experience will bring it on. Are they sending you to someone who might know? I hope so.
    E

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I’m waiting for the Rochester surgeon to call back. Seems like there’ll be another adventure or two. Loss of one’s health can get to be a consuming journey. If a journey can be consuming. Will have to google that in.

      Reply
  2. Kirsten Wasson

    I have a well of free-floating anger. . .I admire those who don’t. And I admire you, Robin, for looking at this new situation square in the face with your constant wit and grace. Keep us posted at what the $#%! doctor’s tests reveal. Thinking of you!

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thank you, Kirsten. And I’m thinking of you out in LAland where you cavort with wit and grace and a most adventurous spirit. That’s what I admire – an adventurous spirit. Something to work on as my health settles. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Lucy Bergström

    I agree with Lynne. You never know how you’ll react to big things like loss or fame, to helping in an accident or driving by. Soldiers are often shocked at their own brave or cowardly reactions. If you never felt anger, you never felt anger. It’s not in some inner corrosive chamber. Hopefully your health problems will clear up one by one. Then you can check your reaction – joy!

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I’m still stuck on visions of “some inner corrosive chamber.” I keep coming back to the well next to my house, thinking how all of my problems started there before I had the well flushed with chlorine and sealed with a new cap. Blame is still my natural reaction. Thanks, Lucy. I am starting to get better.

      Reply
  4. Robin Botie

    Hi Lynne,
    Thank you so much. Actually I find myself blaming all the doctors. It’s easier to blame someone or something else. I agree with you that we need to allow ourselves and those around us to grieve in their own ways. I really don’t like all the stages outlined and formulas for dealing with grief. Cheers!

    Reply
  5. Lynne Taetzsch

    Robin, don’t blame yourself for whatever health problems you’re facing. I don’t remember anger as part of my grieving process either. We have to give ourselves permission to grieve the way we grieve.

    Reply

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