This blog is my record of my journey with my son who had a rare, and eventually fatal metabolic illness. It is the story of the last year and a half of his life, his death, and after. I have shared this journey this in the hopes that is will not only help me come to terms with the realities, but also that someone along the way may find it helpful, as they face a similar journey.

This is my place to comment on events, blow off steam, encourage myself (and maybe you), share frustrations, show my love, grieve my losses, express my hopes, and if I am lucky, maybe figure out some of this crazy place we call life on earth.

The content might sometimes get a little heavy. As an understatement..


People who are grieving may write sad or difficult things and bring you down. This blog may not be for the faint of stomach or of heart. Read with caution and at your own risk.

If you are new to this blog, I suggest reading it from oldest to newest. It isn't necessary, as what I write is complete in itself. But this blog is sort of the result of the "journey" I'm going on, and I think it sort of "flows" better from oldest to newest.

I do hope that in the end you will find, in spite of all the difficult and heartbreaking things, things that are worth contemplating.

Welcome along!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Anger: Part Two

Here we go, a bit more on the topic of anger.

Previously I wrote about how I was angry at God, but not ANGRY.

I'm going to write about anger once again, but this time not the anger that might be directed toward God when something like this happens.

I'm going to talk about "marriage anger." I know there are some statistics somewhere about the dismal future prospects for those who lose a child. It's pretty negative. But I'm pretty confident that Steve and I are going to make it. Not because we are either of us so great at marriage. I think over time we have both learnt that we'll never be replacements for Dr. Phil. Well, maybe Dr. Phil is not a good example anyway. Maybe he's more of an example that being human is a state every one of us shares.

In any case, my confidence lies more in the fact that God just has not let us go through all of this. We have just seen His hand, here and there, protecting us and our marriage. I'm not going to get into all that, because this is not about marriage survival, it is about marriage anger. And even the anger part could more than fill a blog, marriage survival can fill several books.

So, I'm just going to say that in my experience one of the huge obstacles thrown up in my marriage due to everything related to Joel has been anger. Any anger, not just that which ends up directed at my husband. But especially that one.

You might think I'm saying I somehow blame Steve for Joel's illness. I'm not saying that. If you are married, then you know that marriage is an opportunity for irritation, frustration, annoyance, and pique like no other! You know what I mean when I say that you are often amazed with the situations that arise! Who could believe that deciding where to park, cleaning skills, habits hygienic in nature, or whether or not you buy vs make a lunch could spark so much emotion and debate?

Here is what I think I have experienced when it comes to Joel. Not only are there waaaaaaay more things to disagree about, but there is just a heck of a lot of what I'm going to call "free-floating anger" just, well, floating around. Sometimes there is so much stress and frustration with the situation, so much pain and worry, that it just builds up in the air, like an electrical storm brewing.

Yup, big old electrical storm clouds of anger, just building up in the sky behind you and if you are facing the other way you might not even notice them there, looming up larger and blacker at every moment. And all it takes is one little extra conductive spot and KA-POW! Lightening strikes and things get fried!

I have been completely awe-struck by how very angry I have become and how quickly! At times, I really thought I must be crazy. I mean, it doesn't take much to become a conductor! Leave your rubber boots ON! Danger zone! The lightening is desperate to come to ground, and it's not particular.

Do you know the sort of anger I'm talking about? I mean the sort of anger where at a moments notice you are ready to burn your marriage to the ground and stand on the smouldering pile shouting "Ha! Serves you right!!" Does that sound like I'm a terrible person? Well, truth be told, sometimes I am.

And there have been times where I have been so angry I could have so easily giving in to the urge. And there has been absolutely no justification for that sort of anger. The "I'm out of control destructive even to myself" sort of anger. Where you are absolutely bonkers. You would tear down your own marriage board by board, flinging broken bits around you, scattered and splintered shards underfoot and then stomped off in your bare feet over the mess not even noticing the blood dripping from your soles. That's the kind of insanity I'm talking about. That I have felt. And I better stop now, because my mother in law reads this, and she might be sitting there right now reading this, hands clenched and nails driving into her palms.

I've said enough bad stuff in those times, but I'm glad that I was kept, by God's grace, from saying some of those gasoline igniting or wall smashing things that come to our minds in those moments of crazy. I mean it literally when I say "Thank God!"

And thankfully, those moments don't happen much anymore. I suppose that is due to various things, like getting respite and being able to have some time to tend to marriage-love. Also, respite has lessened our general stress, though we still have flare-ups in the bad times, like hospitalizations.

I suppose as well that as "Anger" is one of those "five stages" of grief that sort of passes. Though as I pointed out with one of my favourite poems, grief is a circular staircase, and we tend to revisit those stages many times over on our way up through it. Still, I think both Steve and I just plain tend to be less angry over it all as we walk this journey.

Keeping closer to God also helps. Turning the anger over to Him and just feeling it disperse. Learning to trust Him with the stress and the worry. And the part I spoke about in an earlier blog, where I talked about surrender as opposed to acceptance. Because even more in this case, it seems that it is surrender that frees me from it all. When you are hurt, you desire vengeance. Yes, there is that part of it in our anger at the pain. We are like injured animals, we want to strike back, even mistaking those who wish to help us by clawing and biting.

And in surrender, I have released that desire to hurt someone, anyone back. I've surrendered. The war is over. Peace may return. I've not learnt it yet. But I'm learning, as I go along. Because the peace inside is a better trade for the anger. And at the end of it all, I want to look at the strong protective walls of my marriage, a safe place for my family to dwell.

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