The Angry Side of Grief
Maybe you've been angry all the time lately—angry at friends, angry at God, angry at yourself, and even angry at your deceased loved one. You want to blame someone for your loved one’s death, but you don't know whom.
Anger is a normal part of the grieving process. During the grieving process, we often find ourselves wanting to restore our lives to how they were before we lost our loved ones. That in itself brings about anger because there is no turning back the clock and restoring our lives to their previous states. The root of anger is helplessness. We find ourselves helpless to change the circumstances and timing of our loved one's death. Therefore, we become angry.
It is not the anger that we need to be concerned about, but how we express the anger residing inside us and our experiences with life. We must decide to act instead of react to the situation. We choose whether we will be bitter or better as we delve into the healing of our grief.
A few months ago, I became angry about several different issues and wanted to find a healthy way to handle my anger. Sometimes it helps to vent to a trusted friend. Often, however, we need to expel the negative energy from our bodies and spirits. This can occur through exercise. Another way to release the negative energy and emotions that develop as a result of grief is to take that energy and invest it into a worthwhile activity with friends, or invest it into someone who is hurting in a different area of his or her life.
When my anger manifested itself, I chose to use physical activity to help dispel the negative emotions and energy that were harming me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I called a friend and we went to the batting cage in Winston-Salem, NC, (due to my allergies to grass, pollen, etc.). As I walked in, I found out that one token equaled 20 balls. I was really happy about that! So, I got three tokens, which equaled 60 balls. Now, let me say that I am not a good baseball or softball player—quite the opposite, in case you were wondering. But I figuratively put names on each of those balls—several names were duplicates—and began hitting them. I want you to know that I missed only 4 out of 60 balls. The friend who was with me was really concerned and asked if her name was on any of those balls. I told her no. She wanted to know if we were still friends and I told her yes. Then she asked the most important question of the evening: "Do you feel better now?"
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" I replied. I had worked out the negative emotions and energy through physical activity.
Maybe you would not choose that kind of physical activity. Maybe you would work in the garden or plant flowers in your yard. However, no matter what physical exercise you undertake, the rule of thumb here is to make sure you don't allow those negative feelings to remain a part of you. If left untreated, those emotions can make you sick physically. Make sure that you select an exercise or activity that is most beneficial in allowing a release to take place. Recognize that anger is part of the healing process in the journey of grief and that you are simply passing through on the road to wholeness.
―Saundra Yates, Bereavement Coordinator/Chaplain (Mount Airy Office)
Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care offers free grief support to the community at large. For more information, contact us today at 336-789-2922 (toll-free 1-888-789-2922).
Tags: Grief Support