Friday, December 9, 2011


Monday, December 5th I felt angry.  At least I think I felt angry.  I am a middle child, a peacemaker.  Anger and I haven't spent much time together, at least not in public, so it is a hard emotion for me to decipher.  It always comes in combination with frustration, sorrow, guilt and so many other messy emotions that it can be hard to distinguish.  On Monday it came with the feeling of deep irritation and self-pity. 

Why Monday?  Monday was the day Jonah was scheduled to have a major cranial-facial surgery.  His surgeon planned to take a bone graft from his skull to build up his cheek bones to support and realign the orbits of his eyes.  We would have spent the better part of this week in the hospital.  When the surgeon described this procedure to me months ago I felt like throwing up.  It was so hard to think of putting our Jonah, our beautiful healthy child, through such a difficult operation. It was hard to think of a doctor changing Jonah's appearance, because I loved him just as he was.  But we put our trust in the surgeon, had faith that it was the best thing for our child, and put the date on the calendar.

So Monday morning I couldn't figure out how I should feel.  Should I feel grateful that Jonah did not have to go through such a difficult surgery?  Should I resent the fact that I am not in the hospital with him right now?  Should I wish in my heart to feel the fear of sending my child into surgery?  It was just too much for me.  I couldn't bring myself to feel grateful that he wasn't having surgery, and I couldn't wish that he was alive to experience such pain.  So I chose to feel anger. 

When I'm angry I don't really lash out at others, I just shut down.  I stop talking.  I stop writing.  I just stop and feel sorry for myself.  I let myself feel frustrated for a moment by all of the challenges we have faced in the last two years.  I begin to label the things I hate.  I hate that Jonah died.  I hate that our bodies are imperfect.  I hate that I carry a genetic disorder that I could pass onto my children.  I hate that other people in the world are careless and negligent of their children, and yet their children live.  I hate that with all the medical technology in the world, no one could save Jonah from the tiny fruit snack I gave him.  

I am academic enough to acknowledge that anger is a normal part of grief.  But as these moments of anger have come I have found that there is a difference between feeling angry and being angry.  Letting myself feel anger is cathartic.  It is like a good cry, it releases the built up frustration of living in a world that is beyond my control.  But being angry is something different.  It is not a release, but a holding on.  It is choosing to dwell in the difficulty of that which is beyond our control.  As I laid in bed, wallowing in my misfortune I recognized that I do not want to be angry.  

Monday night I was able to tell Jordan how frustrating life is, of course he already knows.  He made dinner for me (egg, cheese and bacon biscuits) and bought me a cherry coke.  He got me out of the house and reminded me through his presence that I have so much to be grateful for.  That gratitude seemed to expose my anger for what it really was: sadness, heartache, disappointment, and longing to be with my beautiful, perfect boy. 

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9


  1. I'm so glad you and Jordan have one another.

  2. he was a beautiful and perfect boy! Anger needs to be released somehow. I think hearing about his surgery scared me as a fellow mother. But oh, that he were here so you could comfort him through that. Death does leave all of us with many unanswered questions. I think the best thing we can do is preserve their sweet memory like you are doing, instead of being angry. Thanks for sharing your grief with us.

  3. Of all of your posts thus far, this has been the most poignant, for me.

  4. In a college class on stress management my professor emphasized that anger was a secondary emotion and a good approach was to find the primary emotions that it was built on. I felt anger too at reading about your conflicting emotions and imagining myself wrestling with all of it. ((hugs))

  5. I know that feeling. Anytime I hear about someone hurting their child it makes me angry in a new way. Before I would just ache for that child, but when your blessed with a child who has special needs it brings a whole new kind of anger. Maybe because it is a reminder how unfair the world is. Thanks for sharing your feelings. I haven't lost a child, but have felt some of these same emotions.