Making Meaning of the Madness

Chapter 4


This is bloody tedious.

The damn black returns and sucks me under.

Journal: Oct '95

How could he do such a stupid thing?

Journal: Jan '95

Anger drilled me sometimes with the crushing power of a sledge. While I am not normally a violent person nor given to deep, brooding moods, there certainly were periods after Jeff’s death when anger visited. I was mad at life and its lack of justice. After all, I had lived a decent life, had tried to be a good neighbour, husband, father. Why our family? Thank heavens I read Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People fairly early after Jeff died. This wonderful book put many issues into perspective for me.

At times I wondered if guilt was a source of my anger. It is an issue most of us have to wrestle with at some point, and I suffered my share.

Sometimes I was damn angry our family was going to be held prisoner by our reality the rest of our lives. At other times I was angry at Jeff. When I allowed myself to think of it, the future seemed a nightmare of confusion and distress.

Bottom Line

You know, Jeff,

Sometimes I almost beat myself to rat shit

Wondering what the hell went wrong

With a young man who seemed to have

So much going for him.

You were healthy, intelligent, loved,

One good looking boy.

Possessed a sensitivity and enough humility

To help keep your feet on the ground,

Obviously had little difficulty cultivating friends

And were about to graduate and venture

Into a whole new life phase.

I have read the articles about seratonin research

And can buy the plausibility,

Because if I don’t, I start going out of my bloody mind.

Nothing else makes any sense.

Otherwise it was one dumb-assed thing to do!

I keep shaking my head in disbelief.

Goddamn booze!

Rejection and seratonin wouldn’t have been enough.

Feb '96

I wondered long and hard about this poem. Should I destroy it? Did I need to write this stuff? Why deal in such a manner with my anger? And then, should I make such dark thoughts public? But then I remembered this book is meant to discuss what is real; it is meant to help others dealing with similar turmoil understand they are not in this alone. They are not going crazy. We are suffering, and the suffering does bad, tough things.

After this poem was finished, I recall the relief of “getting something off my chest.” A freeing came to me; I felt lighter than I had for some time. It was then I decided not to destroy the poem, because I realized I had a need to express my anger in this manner.

Freer Now

"Bottom Line" is behind me

I guess there was a need to write that stuff

To purge my soul of the anger being carried around

Without realizing its presence

Perhaps I’ll be a little freer now

Feb '96

As I look back through my journal spanning more than two years, I find a number of entries which exhibit anger. When I first began to read about grief and what to expect from it, I was puzzled about why I would go through an anger phase. I wasn’t angry at first, just beat up and utterly lost. What was I to get angry about? Certainly not about Jeff! What I felt for him then was sympathy and a need to defend him, keep him safe, something I obviously hadn’t done while he was alive. Well, it didn’t take long before those thoughts and emotions were pushed aside by the anger. It was only three weeks after Jeff died that the first anger entry appeared.

Initially I was uncomfortable with anger, but now that I have accepted it as part of the healing process, I am content I wrote about it. Recognizing it helped with subsequent bouts that continue even now. I believe acknowledging the anger and dealing with it helps me be at relative peace with life.

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