MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: Expect unexpected emotions

My sister’s boyfriend came to visit her. My older brothers loved pulling pranks on him. They put a potato in the exhaust pipe of his car and could not wait for him to leave to see the results of their prank. He greeted her, got into the car and turned the key. His car did not want to start. He tried again and again. Finally the potato was blasted out of the exhaust with a big cloud of smoke and they ran laughingly out of their hiding places. My sister’s anger was unleashed upon them for making fun of her boyfriend.

I received a message to notify me of a parcel awaiting me at a church office. The lady at reception told me to wait while she fetched the keys for the safe. What a precious gift, I thought, that she would put it in the safe. I got home, opened the parcel and took a photo for the children. It was the most exquisite blanket, crocheted with André’s name on it. Threaded in a sunny yellow, symbolising André’s “search for sunshine”. The workmanship was breath-taking. I stood next to my bed, looking at it in silence. Suddenly a fierce anger gripped me. How can I cover myself with a blanket bearing your name when you offered me no covering of emotional safety?  What good is it to have your name in spelled-out letters, protected in a safe, when you were no longer a safe space for me? How horrid the constant threat I had to live with for so many years of not knowing if you will keep your promise to stay alive until I got home again. The betrayal of trust. I am fuming with fury at you.

At the most inappropriate time a memory or emotion can be ‘unleashed’ upon you. There is no warning sign like a flare shot off in the darkness of night to light the sky and notify you that an intense emotion is on its way. You need to expect unexpected emotions to show up at any time when you are in grief. I have a choice to put a potato in the exhaust pipe of my emotions and block my anger, or I can give it permission to be released in a puff of smoke. I decided to consider anger to be my visitor and have a conversation with it.

Anger, I see you. What do you want to tell me?

I want to tell you that an injustice has been done to you.

You are right. I feel righteous anger like Jesus did when he found the money changers doing business in the temple and he made a whip of cords and chased them out. I want to say to my Beloved: “You sold me out. You broke your promise to me. What happened to your integrity?”

Anger, I feel the energy that is released into my heart and my mind and my body. For years I prayed, fought, strategised, encouraged and partnered to prevent exactly this injustice from happening. Then my anger was geared at preventing this loss from happening. I know from my Emotional Logic training that anger and guilt is all about control. I have lost all influence over preventing your death, my Beloved.

Anger, I want to thank you for your visit. Thank you for telling me about this injustice and giving me permission to feel my anger. I do not need to block you out. I will feel all of my feelings, even the ones like anger that is uncomfortable. I know we are still in the midst of  Covid-19, but may I give you a hug?

Anger, I have seen you, I have acknowledged you, I have felt you, I have had a conversation with you and I have even given you a hug. I accept that you are part of my journey in making sense of my grief. For today, you have fulfilled your function and I now choose to let you go. Thank you for being a messenger and helping me to understand the injustice done to me.

“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief – but the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” Hillary Stanton Zunin.

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.”

Thank you Jesus that I may have room for righteous anger and that it is part of my healing process. I will hold onto You even when I am angry at an injustice. 

Annette de la Porte.

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