A New York Minute

What I really need is a Randy Newman or a Tom Waite song, one of those dips into the core of truth, a raspy look into the ‘little bitty eyes’ of our lesser selves.  I need anger, shouted gut spilling anger.  Not gangsta rap anger but polite Catholic school girl anger gone rage.  Randy Newman or Tom Waite would know the words.  They would not be hampered by my ‘stuff’, my fear of anger.

This is grief, raw sadness.  Anger has been slower to come than have the other so-called stages of grief.  None of the anger is the expected kind.  This does not feel like anger at Bob for dying or for leaving so many stones, boulders, for me to turn.

It has been five months of processing and my expectation clung to the conventional wisdom that six months held some elixir of passage.  Every day is wrapped in death in some form or another and 30 additional days make conventional wisdom sound like a fool’s errand.

Each of my adult children  has done everything in his/her power to ease this passage.  When the anger threatens, I keep it at bay by concentrating on  them.  Their love and concern is constant and given to the degree that is possible for them.  If you read this blog on an intermittent basis, you have read of the generosity of specific friends and neighbors.

It has been a conscious goal to avoid living widow-like, lamenting, hiding or doing the dance of sighs.   My sons and my daughters-in-law have encouraged every effort to be alive, to set goals, to find joy.  They have done everything possible.

That should be enough, right?  Many people never come close to that degree of support.  So why the anger?  Why the New York minute need to spill what I will end up swallowing again rather than having the courage to vent?

Anger won’t heal.  Anger will just tear the scabs and open new wounds pushing six months into a lifetime.  Maybe this is the best I can do now, this lame attempt at speaking out–speaking to the hurt of indifference, the hurt of the assumption that being alone isn’t wrenchingly lonely, the hurt of expecting me to be who I was before part of me disappeared, the hurt of distancing because it is awkward when searching for words.

Lord.  Talk about lame.    Wish I had the courage to take the plunge.  Maybe that New York minute will explode later.




Facing Anger

Head-on.  No detours.  No excuses.  No platitudes. Polly Anna-isms set aside.

Facing up is hard to do.

I have a new belief.  Or at least a reevaluated belief.

Depression is anger turned inward after efforts to hide or cover the anger with false hope.  Hope is good.  False hope is stupid.  Hope comes from looking at a situation and finding reason to believe.   False hope comes from looking at a situation slathered with reality while faking a belief that reality is a shadow, not substance.

Anger gets swallowed, pushed down into the darkness to fester.  Guilt probably plays a part as guilt is often too painful.  When the pain gets bad enough, anger takes the place of guilt.  When we continue to deny the anger, depression is the result.

We make choices.  We feel anger and rattle the cage we built.  Swallow the anger and a new cage surrounds the anger so we can pretend again.

Some blogs ago, I wrote about situational depression and possible ways to work through the heaviness.  Now I question all of that.  What if the situation is the chain to depression, a life reality, an unchangeable fact,  then what?

Is this one of those lemons to lemonade moments?  Spare me.  Those posters come from Polly Anna and she seems to be moving on.

Harvesting Anger

Currently, a local high school is awash in controversy surrounding the notice that the current principal was given notice.  The school will not renew his contract.  Rumors feed the need for a ‘them’, a group to absorb our prejudices and our anger.  Much of the rumor tags have been latent just waiting for a chance to rebound.

In Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy gives a one sentence explanation for this phenomena of human reaction.

“What joins men together is not the sharing of bread but the sharing of enemies.”

Righteous anger is necessary.  Drawing enemy lines is necessary.  We do war against evil.  We have rules of just warfare.  Anger directed at evil fuels change.

Every religion has examples of justified anger such as Jesus sending the money changers from the temple.  But didn’t he send them away because they were doing business in a place of worship and not because they were doing business?    Wouldn’t Jesus’ parents have business with money changers?  The condemnation wasn’t of the changer’s work but of the desecration of the temple.

As I am writing this, parents and students are gathering at the high school with the hope of receiving clear and concise information about the changes at their school.  Rumors have stated so many unsubstantiated ‘facts’, unbelievable facts.  The list is long and if I repeat any of them, I support the problem rather than the solution.

Much of this reaction is clenched fist anger layered with stale and ugly indignation from the past.  The need to resurrect old garbage to pad  and justify the current anger creates a problem that barely resembles the original situation.      Unsubstantiated rumors do a great deal to feed the anger and garner support,  but do nothing to solve the issues.

Wrath of Kahn/Star Ship ‘Enterprise’ (ccr)

For the first time in my experience on word.press, the “New Post” took forever to load.  It might have been one of those Guardian Angels tugging on the cyber connection with the intention of saving me from myself.  Good try.

But no cigar.

If you, Gentle Reader, were/are a Star Trek fan you have seen Ricardo Montablan spew wrath all over that Star Ship.  He was one mean puppy and his wrath came close to scuttling the bridge.  So get that picture of Ricardo vs. Captain Picard.  Feel the drama.  Sense the anger.

Now get out that math thing that takes numbers to a power of max.  That approaches my anger.

Someone just made a huge mistake.  In an attempt to insult something I had said and done, “You are just like your mother” was spat at me.  ( Spat is a strange  word, but I think spat is the past tense of what a snake does with venom.)

My mother had steel and grit.  She was quiet and slow to anger accepting that life had lumps.  Get those lumps out, open them up, clean the mess and move on…a ‘mom’ kind of thing.

She cleaned, sewed school uniforms,  ironed, cooked, canned, gardened, did the laundry on a wringer washer with tubs for rinsing.  The ‘dryer’ was a long rope stretched across the back yard.   And she had a full-time job in a law office.  After that  full day as office manager, she came home to run a household, raise five children and be a wonderful wife to my dad.  Dad always came first.

For a time, Mom took both her parents into the home, caring for them until her health could no longer handle the burden.

Mom nursed Daddy through his final cancer from the beginning surgery, through radiation, the feeding tubes and to that final gut wrenching  good-bye.  Grit and steel.

Granted, she was no easy task-mistress, but she loved us and worked with Dad to provide a few nice clothes, a Catholic education, nutritious food and gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  (If you read Lent Revisited you know that Easter Baskets happened, too.)

Mom did not gush, but she welcomed friends to our home.  At those  times when Mom was too tired to visit with our friends, she still smiled as she went about whatever task needed doing.

If being like my mother is an insult, then I stand tall and proud in that insult.  I will wear it with intense pride.

And I fear that I will be very slow to forgive the intention to insult.  Wonder what Mom would say about that?