An Essay For Anyone Who Is Pissed At Someone Who Died
You are not alone in the anger.
A few nights ago I was sitting in a loud beer hall having what could only be qualified as a quiet conversation. The kind where the sentences are punctuated by tears and the tears are brought on by vulnerability.
In many ways I was looking at my reflection — a girl who’d also lost a mom, who was also broken in ways that I understood deeply, someone who chose vulnerability in scary situations over being too afraid to live.
We touched on this essay — The Fear of Not Making It After Someone Dies — and how losing someone strips you of hope and the dream of a happily ever after. How it just doesn’t feel like we’re one of the “lucky ones.” Whatever that means.
Mostly though we talked about anger, resentment and the feeling we’ve been forced to live with, the one where you are constantly holding out for the other shoe to drop.
Lately, I’ve been questioning how deep my trust issues or fear of loving goes — am I just jaded? Am I just being 23? Or am I fucked up in a beautiful kind of way? Has loss made me cynical to the various Financial District bros who just want to sleep around? Or have I suddenly turned into one of them in an effort to beat whoever “he” is to the punch?
Like, if I’m the bro then at least I know what my next step is…then at least he can’t throw the first punch because bro, that one has already been thrown.
In the various hypothetical scenarios we conjured up — the ones where the guy fails us and leaves us picking up pieces we didn’t even voluntarily want to give up — we realized that it all comes back to missing the person we lost.
For her her mom, for me my grandma.
I miss my mom in very real and poignant ways, but it’s my grandma who I’m pissed at. I only saw my mom in the hospital once, I didn’t try to keep her alive in the same ways I did with my grandma.
I didn’t feel the phantom of control over my mom’s life, like I did over my grandmother’s life.
Standing in front of a doctor and choosing morphine over a slow, painful death for someone who I did everything to keep alive…that messed with me.
So, we’re sitting in this beer hall, crying over french fries and a half eaten grilled chicken sandwich when she says, “It’s okay to be angry at the person who died.” Or some variation of that.
I sit there, feeling my eyes glaze over, because crap she may be the first person who ever said this to me.
She goes on to explain something that I’ve always kind of known. She says that it’s so fucking taboo to say that you’re pissed that your person left you, that they died. That you’re semi-resentful at that fact that you’re left picking up pieces that are mostly there because they up and died.
Yeah, she believes that things happen for a reason. Yeah, it’s not like they wanted to leave you picking up those pieces. Yeah, God or a higher power had a plan that we have no aerial view of, but that doesn’t take away the right we have to be pissed.
And, man am I pissed.
I resent being able to draw similarities between the guy who dumps me over a text message to the doctor who told me that my efforts to keep her alive came down to morphine or death by aspiration.
I’m upset that I’m left to figure out life and how to make it to tomorrow without her by my side.
There’s a moment within the anger when you feel the floor beneath you shift and suddenly you have one foot in “pissed” and the other in “exhausted meet sad.” Then you’re upset because you know it’s going to take you *days* to shake the feeling and you have a date on Saturday and you don’t really want to bring this mood with you because, man, isn’t the baggage enough?
I’m learning that the hard thing about anger is that it’s a fleeting emotion. Regardless of how badly I’d like to latch onto it so that qualifying my feelings is easier, I can only hold on for so long.
Eventually I have to take audit of where I’m standing and how I got here. I’m at mile 7 of a 10 mile race and all I can do is remind myself to breathe because I’m stuck and anything else would call for too much energy. Realistically, I should have known I was only capable of running 5 miles but I’m stubborn and determined and tend to only acknowledge my limits once I’m staring them in the face.