So yesterday I posted a status on facebook that said, “Did you know that anger is a fairly effective way to dull the sharpness of grief? Just saying.” And since then I’ve gotten a few replies that made me feel as though I needed to clarify this. I just want to say, I am NOT really angry. Honestly, I am filled with love. I know that sounds stupid and trite, but it’s true. And anger can have its place there sometimes, but it’s a small and moderated place, if you know what I mean.
Now I have been a little irritable lately. Mostly this has been with people who are not personally important to me — people who I don’t know, or don’t know well, people I run into in public life. You know, like bad drivers! I can’t tell you how much stress relief I used to get out of bad drivers in the years after Michaela was kidnapped. Okay, I don’t know if that is healthy. But I have felt it to be a bit energizing. It’s like there is this unresolved grief that just sits inside me, and most of the time I can bury it or ignore it, but sometimes it comes out in the process of life, and then I know why I keep it buried. It is just really hard to live with. Being irritable is a distraction.
Now you can create anger as a way to divert yourself from grief. I know, because I’ve done that also, and possibly ruined some relationships that way. And that is a terrible, terrible, awful thing to do. I hope I never, ever do that again. It is really important to live with some sort of emotional integrity. I do know, I learned in the second year after Michaela’s kidnapping, that anger is often (maybe always) our grief and sorrow turned inside out and thrown outside ourselves, so we don’t have to feel the sharpness of it. Anger is one of the stages of grief according to psychologists, maybe for this very reason. At their worst, the feelings of grief are so gripping and so intense you would do just about anything to get away from them. But honestly, creating anger is not a good way to do that. It’s a lie for us to be angry at someone we love.
But it is okay to be a little bit irritable with unimportant things, I think. It’s okay to feel irritated, and to mutter under your breath, although even still it is not okay to wave your fists and yell at people. You just have to live in such a way that you are not creating distruction in your life.