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How I Channel My Anger Around My Son's 20th 'Angelversary'

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I am seven days away from my son’s 20th “angelversary” and have been locked in the “countdown” for a month. It is true that the anticipation is often worse than the actual day…but not always. Therefore, one never knows if or when the sky may/will be falling in.

hate the pain, the fear, the tears that overwhelm me, at times, and often when they are least expected. “If only” I had some warning so that I could be better prepared and more in control. But grief’s nature cannot have such controls. It ebbs and flows at its own will and in its own determined time.

I have often heard it preached that anger is “bad.”’ We are told to “put away” anger. Yet, we are also told to “be angry” but “sin not.”’ So, again, I seek balance.

Because I was married for 24 years to a person who was easily given over to rage, I would never allow myself to feel anger. I didn’t want to be “that guy.” I didn’t understand that anger, when justified, can be good.

I no longer shun anger, but I do pray that I channel it in a healthy way.

Anger is one of the very basic elements of grief. Why? Well, I believe it is because we hate death. ‘Til that day, I will hate it. Death will always be a source of anger for me while I remain in this world. So, when the anger rushes in, I have a choice to make. I can be foolish and vent it inappropriately (sin); I can pretend it does not exist (denial); I can try and run from it (fear); or I can seek wisdom and use it constructively.

Honestly, I have tried all options at some point or another. Over time I have learned to embrace the anger of grief, and allow it to be used as a tool to motivate me toward doing something good, something constructive. Anger is often an “energizer” for me.

Anger often frightens people. In the grief community, one often
crosses paths with someone who is very angry. It is almost inevitable. Anger, when not addressed, can easily morph into bitterness which corrodes and eats away at one’s very soul.

One can be angry, but not bitter. To tell a person who is grieving that they “should not” be angry will only cause harm to that person. To flee an angry grieving person will only produce shame and lead to more anger.

So, it is good to not be angry whenever possible. However, because of the anger that often accompanies grief, even if we are not readily an angry person, we seek to use it beneficially. I like to think of anger as a hammer. I can focus on it and “hit the nail on the head,” or I can smash my thumb with it. I can use it wisely to make a repair, or I can smash a window with it. What I won’t do is pretend it does not exist, or feel shame in being angry in my grief.

Image result for Bitterness is like cancer It eats upon the host But anger is like fire It burns it all clean Maya Angelou photo


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Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct Textbook.

Follow this journey on Jude’s website.

Photo credit: ovbelov/Getty Images

Originally published: April 25, 2019
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