Coping with Loss/Angry

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Question
I am a well educated professional. 21 years ago my mom died of lung cancer. She was 59 and I was 27. She never smoked or drank a day in her life. She was the most wonderful mother anyone could ask for. She was diagnosed and died within 8 months. I took care if her while she was sick. I am still so angry that she died. And for some strange reason I feel angry towards her. It doesn't make sense. She didn't self inflict the disease in anyway. I'm hoping you can explain this phenomenon to me.

Answer
Hi Pam,

As with all my answers in this category, I will share with you reflections from own personal experience and give resources I've used.  Please know that there is no right way or wrong way to any of this.  So feel free to take what resonates for you here and work with it -- and feel free to ignore anything that doesn't resonate, okay?

The anger aspect you speak of has been very normalized for me personally, and as I've gone on to work with clients, I've done by best to normalize it for them.  That is not to say such-and-such is normal and thus-and-such is not normal... but just that if we, as feeling, open-hearted human beings feel this, then we feel it, and that is okay and part of our own process.

For me personally, I had a lot of anger toward my body for not being able to bring my sons safely into this world. I had anger at my boys for not being with us longer.  Other clients I've worked with have felt anger toward parents who died because, well, frankly, they just don't want to be without them physically here.  They miss them.  Of course.  This is not to say that we *only* feel this anger piece.  No, not at all.  We feel it amid all the other feelings that come.  And some of it for me personally, was even motivated by the fact that I loved my sons so much that I wanted them here, period!  The anger actually came out of love in a way.  It was an interesting thing to see about it for myself, you know?

Now, of course, I cannot speak for you and what your answers will be, but you may find some great insights in a book (it is on MP3 now, too, I think, so you could listen to it or read it) by Miriam Greenspan, titled "Healing Through The Dark Emotions."  There is one passage right at the beginning of the book that gave me permission to feel what I felt and at least become curious enough about it to begin working with the anger to find out more about it.  Here's the passage:

"At such times, it becomes clear that there is no way out but through.  Healing through the dark emotions is the opposite of arming ourselves against a sea of troubles. It is a shamanic journey to the dark emotional underworld where the only way to master dark emotional energy is to experience it fully.  Just as tribal shaman venture into the world of the spirits in order to bring back knowledge of the remedies for troubled souls, so does the emotional alchemist descend into the depth of his or her own pain to discover its wisdom for self-healing and transformation."

Greenspan goes on throughout the book to encourage us to see ourselves as emotional alchemists and to be with our own pain to discover its wisdom and how we can best self care to find transformation.  

The process of emotional reactions doesn't have to make sense, that's okay.  And you might explore the anger aspect in many ways.  Invite the anger to tea with you.  What does it look like?  What kind of tea does it drink?  Ask it questions over tea and listen for answers.  Or if you were to dance with anger, what kind of music would be playing?  What kind of dance step would you do -- tango, berserker mosh pit??  How does the anger move?  Or sit down and with your dominant hand, write questions to ask the anger about itself.  Then with your non-dominant hand, let your pen flow without thinking, and see what flows onto the page.

These are all just creative ways to get an askew-ish view, a different kind of perspective on the anger.  Sometimes looking at it straight on just doesn't show us anything.  So sort of tilting your head and taking a different view of it, might show you something you didn't see prior.  

Hopefully that is a helpful start.  I encourage you to explore and be curious as you can about it...your own answers will evolve from that exploration!

Let me know if I can help with any other specifics, okay?
Miracles,
k-

Coping with Loss

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Kara L.C. Jones

Expertise

My specialty is using creativity to address grief, loss, and death issues. Creativity is not necessarily about being an artist, but rather about being willing to let go what we think we know and get a different perspective using creative tools such as writing, drawing, body mapping, painting, smashing, wrecking, mosaic, heART journal,and many other techniques. I can answer questions about how to have permission to grieve in your own way, how to become your own best advocate as you learn to live life again, how to approach a creative way of being even when you think you are not creative. Afterall, it takes a lot of creativity to find reasons to get out of bed the day after someone you love has died. I am glad to answer any questions about how to embrace that creative approach when we otherwise feel totally tapped out by the grief experience.

Experience

For 14 years, I've been studying grief and creativity specifically and have been part of bringing the emerging field of grief and creativity to the fore in our world. I worked for a decade with the MISS Foundation offering support to families around the world who are enduring the death of a child due to any cause from miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, accident, disease, suicide, whatever the case. I also co-founded The Creative Grief Studio with Cath Duncan from Remembering For Good as a brand new vision on the training, accountability, and development of the Grief Coaching and helping professionals fields. And probably most important, I've endured the death of three of my own sons and am always learning to live creatively with that reality. For more information, see: http://www.motherhenna.com/about.htm

Organizations
The Creative Grief Studio, Grief & Creativity groups on both LinkedIn and G+

Publications
See: http://www.motherhenna.com/seen.htm

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Three-year Mentorship with Fred Rogers and Hedda Sharapan of FCI producers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Certified Reiki Master-Teacher, Certified Whole Systems and AI Coach (key model being The Hero's Journey)

Past/Present Clients
Confidentiality and a sense of ethics will not allow me to share private client information ever! If you are interested in testimonials from people who have worked with me and given full permission for me to share their experiences, please see: http://www.motherhenna.com/grief.htm

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