My brother is coming out to visit this month. I haven't seen him in almost eight years. I was mad for a long time after mum died. I'm letting go of that now. Everybody deals with grief differently and I get angry. From the amount of anger I've felt during my lifetime, it would appear I have had a lot of grief. But I'm not special, everybody has grief in their lives, everybody has had bad things happen in their lives and I wonder though why my main go to is anger.
When I was not quite three my mum said she wanted to leave, which I still remember. I remember feeling shock, or the shock that a three year old can feel. Is that when I stopped trusting the world? Or was it my dad and his deep distrust of the world, fueled by his alcoholic mother and a world war in which he lost any innocence that he still had when he signed up? I don't know.
Was it watching my parents trying to deal with their own grief? My sister was in a horrific accident when she was twelve years old, something barely mentioned in my family growing up. I was born four years after that accident. My parents lost five babies between me and my sisters, again something only mentioned in passing by my mother. My father lost his best friend in the war. My mother left all of her family behind when she joined my father in Canada after the war. My grandparents divorced after the war. My mum didn't see her mother for years after the war. My father lost both his parents before I was born. He lost his mum earlier than that to alcohol. So much grief to carry around.
I look at my own failed marriage which I knew was a failure when I had only been married two years but I stayed for my kids. I look at the worst grief I've ever experienced, which was Katie's diagnosis. That grief dragged me past anger, down into a despair that took years to recover from. So much grief but how did I settle on anger as my response to this grief?
Anger is big and anger feels like control. Anger also doesn't leave me feeling vulnerable. My need to control, my anger, they make me feel safe. I hate feeling vulnerable, even with the man I love. Somehow I got it into my head that I feel safe when I am in control, which of course is bullshit. I think my dad felt the same too. I think he was so afraid of the world that he got angry and stayed angry.
Of course when you get angry and stay angry you have to push people away, even the people you love. You build a wall around your heart, certain that this will protect you but all it does is keep everyone out. You're not safe, you're just alone.
I wonder how much of my depression is just grief. Is it where I got stuck? My husband talks about ruts in our brains, how we get stuck in them, these neural pathways so used to anger and sadness, how hard it is to get out of those ruts. And how do I get out of depression and move onto acceptance and hope?
Work I'm guessing, lots and lots of hard work. No wonder people drink, it sounds much easier than hard work. It never ends it seems, this ongoing process of becoming, but it is something I want. Although I always quit whatever it is I'm doing to feel better before I feel better permanently. Am I afriad of feeling better? Or am I afraid of losing that hope that I have that there is a way to feel better? Because if I stop, there was still hope, it wasn't a failure. I'm the one that failed. As Jack would say, hmm.
Bloody hell, more work. Do I have what it takes to feel better is the question? To let go of my grief and let go of my anger? Am I brave enough to face the world without anger? That's a scary question.