General

Up From The Ruins

It happens less now. However, it still does happen – often unpredictably. I didn’t realize it, but it was “cooking” inside of me again.

I had felt increasingly “out of sorts” for a few days, and yesterday most of all. The Lockerbie 30th anniversary did not help; I recalled my mother’s upset reaction to the bombing at the time. (I had flown Pan Am to Europe earlier that same year. In the summer of 1995 I had also flown on TWA 800, and we know what happened to that same flight in 1996; my brain went back to how that crash had upset her too.) And I miss being able to talk to my mother just generally; I could “vent” to her as I can now really to no one else. I also tried to write some, but I felt what I was composing was unpublishable, embarrassing rubbish… and I then thought again of my uncle and how much I miss him too and messaging and talking with him.

[Our Christmas tree. Photo by me this morning.]

The holiday happiness all around me was not making me happier; it was getting on my nerves. I’m unhappy with certain other extended “family” so-called relationships as well. Other life issues are also frustrating me. It all became an angry jumble, bubbling under my surface as the day wore on. I was “overheating.”

In the evening, annoyed by Amazon’s set up for sharing Prime – my wife is the main, I’m the second adult user – and having to wade through “help” pages that helped not an iota, it all came out: I slammed the cover over on my iPad and exclaimed, “I’m not in the f-ckin’ mood for this cr-p!”

Instantly I was furious with myself. That reaction was wildly out of line compared to “the problem.” She didn’t deserve that language or tone from me. She never does. If there’s one person on this planet who never does, it’s she.

After I thought about it, I realized at last why I felt so off. This is the first Christmas I have spent here since my mother’s and my uncle’s deaths. I had been there in 2015, 16, and 17, supporting my father in his loss of his wife (my mother).

Not this year. My father is essentially alone, and my close family in America is suddenly in ruins. I miss my mother. I miss my uncle. I also miss another aunt (who died a year ago).

And I was feeling angry and “powerless.” Now that I knew what was bugging me, consciously I calmed myself down inside. Then I went onto the net again seeking anger-grief articles on coping with the loss of loved ones. Here are several I found:

“3 Ways to Work Through the Anger Stage of Grief”

“The Role of Anger in Grief”

“The Loss Foundation: Anger”

“Hospice Foundation of America: Anger and Grief”

“NHS: Coping with Bereavement”

While reading them was useful in helping me understand what I was (again) feeling, they all – and some others – didn’t quite do it for me, though.

What did? A YouTube video I also had stumbled upon during my Googling. It is a thought from – I kid you not – the Dalai Lama on grief:

Give yourself a life task to fulfill their wishes and make your deceased loved one proud of you.

Brilliant.

Saying that doesn’t mean I’ve become Richard Gere suddenly. 😉 Don’t worry. It is just that it is indeed excellent advice.

Have a Merry Christmas. 🙂

11 replies »

  1. Christmastime is tough for those that are bereaved. We want to be happy and festive, but something always feels like it’s missing. Don’t beat yourself up. Pain, although we’d rather not have it, makes us better writers – at least we have that. I hope you and yours have a happy and peaceful festive season, Robert.😌

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    • It’s so true. Often we don’t think of how not everyone smiling is all that happy, but sorta forcing it. When we ponder matters, that helps us. Letting it out and admitting to being angry is a way I think to cope with it. I have indeed also come to appreciate that pain does help us as writers! You have a great festive season as well.🎅😊

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  2. The holidays are rough for anyone missing someone. I can’t put myself in your shoes, but allowing yourself your feelings is a huge part of healing. None of us like snapping, but it happens. Try not to be too hard on yourself. 🙏

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    • Thanks. I think if we are aware of what’s bothering us, that’s much of the battle won. But the war is never won entirely because, I suppose, that’s just life.

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