Sandy Cole


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memorials | index guest columns | 1 what is grief | 2 six stages of grief | 3 shock and denial | 4 anger

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Following shock and denial, many grievers fall into a period of anger. The anger can run from mild to raging, depending on the griever’s temperament and the circumstances surrounding the source of their grief. Remember that the grief process is experienced in many different phases of our lives, not only when someone we love dies, i.e.: the loss of a job, loss of a friendship, divorce, serious injury or illness, loss of a pet and many other events that challenge or change our routines or lives.

For instance: It is not unusual for a griever to be angry with someone who may have caused an accident that took their loved ones life. This is a very understandable anger. Parents will sometimes become angry with each other over the death of a child, even though neither could have done anything to change the events that took their childs life. Husbands or wives can become very angry at their deceased spouse, felling that if the loved one had taken better care of him or her self, they would not have died. In the event of the loss of a job employers or fellow employees often become the target of this stage of the grief process. We see this played out tragically in the news all too frequently. In the event of a divorce or break up of friendship, it is easy to become anger with the partner or anyone else that was involved in the course of events leading to the disruption. Physicians or nurses can be the recipients of a survivor’s anger. Since they often perform “miracles,” why didn’t they do more? God probably receives the most anger. What kind of a loving God would take my loved one from me? If there is a “God” why would he do this to me? Many other people can become the focus of our anger even though they didn’t have anything to do with the loss. Anger is an expression of deep pain and it is looking for accountability and responsibility. But one of the most difficult phases of anger to work through is directed toward oneself. If only I would have realized that they were that ill; or if only I would have said “no” or driven that night; if only I had tried harder or worked hard; if only; if only; if only… Self blame is the toughest form of anger to work through.

Anger is a very normal reaction and phase of grief, but be aware of how you express it. It is better to talk the anger out with someone who will understand rather than allow the anger to consume you and cause you to become violent or out of control. Some grievers find that an aggressive work out; punching a pillow or getting away from others and just letting loose with a loud yell, can help alleviate the emotion.

Anger can seem to boil up from out of no where, causing confusion for the griever and those who are close to him or her. This usually is the result of months or years of grief that was never resolved. Often you’ll find that a negative experience that happened years ago, has resurfaced, because at the time of the incidence you stoically hid your feelings and pushed on with your life. Grief is not something that can be pushed aside. If you try to ignore your feelings they will compound and well up when you lest expect them. Eventually you will have to deal with them.

Remember that we are all human beings and loss and grief are as much a part of our lives as is the beauty and joy that we experience. Never suffer alone. Reach out hold hands and you’ll find in time your heart will heal.

God Bless You.