Everyone says that life must go and it does but what do you do with the anger you feel?
Many people try to push the anger down and ignore it because the intensity of it scares them. That’s not going to work because eventually the anger will pop up at another time in a situation that has nothing to do with the person’s death. Intellectually you know that your loved one did not have control over the situation but that doesn’t stop you from feeling something different in your heart.
Go ahead and feel the anger but you must not hurt yourself or someone else. You have to find a way to let it out in a constructive manner. Whether that means that you yell into a pillow, break dishes or rip clothes, feel it and express it. Otherwise, it’s going to stay inside you and build up until you reach a boiling point. If you find your anger to be beyond what you can handle, you may need to find a support group or go to a grief counselor to address it and work your way through it.
I recently found this very good first-person piece on anger and loss published recently by Hello Grief (www.hellogrief.org) and thought it would be helpful to share:
Loss and Anger
By Victoria Noe
The medical community: why didn’t the doctor force them to take better care of their health? Why didn’t the paramedics get there sooner? Why hasn’t someone discovered a cure for cancer, etc.?
God: why did you make a good person suffer? Why did you leave those children without a parent?
Why them? Why now? Why not someone else? Why not me?
The family: why didn’t they make him go to the doctor? Why did they let her live alone?
Death is, after all, the great unknown. Despite stories of white lights and visions of deceased relatives, no one’s come back from any extended time in the afterlife. We don’t know what awaits us.
And we REALLY don’t know why people die when they do. We say “it was just their time,” and obviously, it was. As a friend, that sense of helplessness can create even deeper anger.
So, if you’re angry that cancer treatments and cures came too late for your friend…
If you’re angry that your friend’s family dismissed her threats of suicide…
If you’re angry that your friend drove drunk…
If you’re angry that an evil person chose your friend at random to kill…
Embrace that anger: accept it and embrace it. You’re angry because of the pain that your friend’s death has caused. That’s, dare I say it, normal. Frankly, it would be strange if you weren’t angry. You’re angry because you loved them and wanted them to stay close to you always. Selfish maybe, but normal and human.
So, as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else, you have my permission to be angry. Then you can work on channeling your anger into positive action, to keep your friend’s memory alive every day of your life.
Guest author Victoria Noe created FriendGrief  to discuss the idea that there are profound differences in grieving the death of a friend, as opposed to a family member. While she writes on the loss of friends, her ideas can often apply to any individual who has suffered any type of loss.