A Red Enemy…
Anger often emerges in grief. It is always a wrong turn.
The purpose of anger (nefarious and no good) is to keep you from experiencing your loss. As we experience rage, we are taken from our loss, its meaning and profundity. Anger is both proficient and devious at doing this. It is a chilling adversary to your grief.
The targets of our fury are anyone or anything viewed as culpable in our loss. Sometimes it is our loved one themselves. For some it is the disease that took our loved one. Others blame another person’s actions. Even God is sometimes the target of anger.
There is always an irrationality to anger. Think of the most extreme example: a person caused the death of your loved one. This person already bears the consequences of their action for the rest of their lives. This is the most severe punishment possible. Your anger, strong as it may be, does not affect them; it cannot compete with the knowledge that they have caused your loss.
And if, tragically, there is no remorse here, if this person does not feel anything for having caused your loss, then, my god, you are looking at a damaged person. Damaged people lead damaged, pain filled lives. Your anger does not touch them.
Sometimes, when anger shows up in grief, it is because your grief is still too big to know. Experientially, anger might first appear as a fair trade: instead of experiencing your loss, you feel anger. But this is just a temporary illusion. Your grief is still there, hiding, waiting for your anger to subside or die. It is not going anywhere, no matter how much of the poison you drink.
Some of us feel anger, but aware of its irrationality, we suppress it. We bury it inside. Throughout time people describe this kind of anger with the apt metaphor of a festering wound, one that continuously secretes poison into your body. It still works to keep you from experiencing your loss, all the while growing in ferocity until it manifests in a more harmful way.
Anger only hurts you, its host. It hurts you physically, emotionally, spiritually.
How do you get rid of it?
Acknowledge its existence. Understand its irrationality and how it is hurting you. Then let it go.
Initiate this simple practice three times a day: Close your eyes. Take ten deep, slow breaths. Now, conjure your loved one in your mind’s eye. Relive three of your happiest memories of your loved one in detail. Relieve these memories until you experience the profundity of your loss.
Then, let these memories of your love light your way.