Handling Anger

My finger has hovered on the “publish” button of this post now for several days, so if you’re reading this, it means I have found a little bravery. Or maybe a little “I don’t give a #&*” but either way, here it is.

The title of this post in itself is ironic considering the gist of what I’m saying is that I am NOT, in fact, handling my anger. I know that official stages of grief are BS, but that a good majority of us deal with most of them in waves, re-occurrences and oftentimes, we get stuck in one particular spot. Mine? You guessed it. Anger.

It has been brought to my attention recently (by the professional sort) that I seem to be stuck in a vicious cycle of blame and self-loathing over the death of my child. I have no one to blame…so I blame me. I have nothing to direct my anger toward, so I don’t know how to FEEL angry. The good, stomp your feet, scream and throw things kind.

The kind where after the outburst, you feel cleansed almost. Free.

No…my anger manifests in an entirely different, completely messed up way, but I doubt I’m entirely alone in that. I’m quite certain there are a few other friends I’ve met who might nod in agreement to what I’m about to share.

Please know…these thoughts I’m sharing are NORMAL, VALID and OKAY. And no, I will not name names, even if you ask me directly. Part of my anger issue is that I really and truly cannot articulate if you’ve hurt my feelings or pissed me off by something you’ve said because truth is, I can’t blame you. There are NO right words to say and EVERYone (myself included) says something bone-headed without intent. If you have done this to me in the last two years, I assure you, you would likely never know because I’m far more concerned for your feelings than I am my own. Because I can take it. I can bear the brunt because I already hurt as badly as anyone can be and in a way, I feel like I deserve it.

I’m ANGRY that I cannot get outside of my own head. I cannot find peace from the blame I place on myself and that I replay the scenes every single day. I’m ANGRY that I didn’t change the course of this path and take matters into my own hands because I so badly hoped I was wrong. Had I stopped hoping and started acting, she would probably be here still.

I’m ANGRY that cancer in children exists, yet people are more concerned with crowd-sourcing funding for lost or stolen band equipment. Save the flying squirrels. Start ups for coffee shops. Is it too hard to look at? Is it too hard to say outloud…CHILDREN ARE DYING? If it’s hard to look at, imagine how hard it is to live with. I care about animals and the ocean. The environment and the world. I care about the CHILDREN more. And it blows my ever-loving-mind that some just…look the other way. Angry? Oh yes. Yes, this makes me angry.

I’m ANGRY that there even exists an online banter of memes, Facebook posts and Instagram feeds about how HARD parenting is. Yep. It’s hard. No one promised you a cake walk. Children are a gift and to repeatedly post about how annoying/expensive/stubborn/late/tired/mentally “done” you are likely makes you a jerk. Want to know what’s hard? Watching your child die from through the glass while 20+ people work to save her. And they can’t. What’s hard is closing the casket on her beautiful face and knowing you will never, ever see her alive again.

I’m ANGRY that I’ve been told my grief has no place in (insert certain situation here.) I’m ANGRY that I’ve been asked what I was doing to “move on.” I’m ANGRY that my life, my very existence now is ONLY in hopes of preserving her memory. I live with one foot on Earth and one foot on a Heaven I cannot see.

I’m ANGRY that on days like today, I’m worried about losing friends or hurting feelings for sharing what is my every day life. I’m ANGRY that I put on a fake face every single time I leave the house and you have no idea. I’m ANGRY that I can’t just let loose the wild, caged, rabid animal I feel like because no one would ever want to be around me again. I’m ANGRY that I spent the day buying holiday decorations for the cemetery instead of Christmas presents for her.

I’m ANGRY that the mention of Thanksgiving sets my mom and I to sobbing tears and that while the world around me argues whether November 1st is too early for a Christmas tree, I’m struggling to breathe. That when the world settles into what is the most beautiful, family oriented and peaceful time of year, I am desperate to sleep and wake up in….yah. There IS no “when” that would be okay to wake up in.

I’m jealous. Oh my GOD how I am jealous. Family photos, special moments, every day moments, holiday jammies, bath times, school parties, tummy bugs, birthday celebrations, Halloween costumes, boo boo kissing, growing up to fast…

I don’t want to be. I stuff that down so far, I choke on it each and every time my fingers reach out to type congratulations or happy birthday or some other milestone my girl was robbed of. You deserve my love and support. You have it. But it hurts.

I was a good mom. A DAMN good mom. And my little girl died. I only got 4.5 years to be her mom and I wasn’t done.

I’m ANGRY that I haven’t seen her beautiful eyes for 22 months tonight. Her bright blue, smile-with-her-whole-face eyes. She died in the early morning hours this night 22 months ago and I had no idea I was looking into them for the last time. I last heard her say “I love you” or call me “mommy” 22 months ago tonight. I’m ANGRY that PTSD (the real kind; the diagnosed kind) has robbed me of actual memories and all I have is what I think was the final time she said it…and because of my grief, I don’t know if it was real. I truly, honestly do not know if it was real.

If you have read this far, you are a saint. I am hurting and I am lashing out because I can’t take my own abuse anymore. I don’t know why I struggle to forgive myself and I don’t know if I will ever be able to, knowing I let her down. She should be here. She was beautiful. She was funny. She was kind and she would have cared about people. She was mine and she was special. And she was robbed. Ripped from my arms.

And I am angry.


32 thoughts on “Handling Anger”

  1. I know she doesn’t blame you. ❤ she loved you. Millions of people love you. Millions don’t blame you. Words cannot heal the pain you feel. I’m sorry you have to go through this. It’s not fair. It’s not right. Just know you are not to blame. Ever. You did everything right. Be blessed. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Lindsay, I am angry too. Everyday. This life is completely unfair. But like you said, YOU are a DAMN good mom. Don’t ever forget that, hang onto that, if you must, dangle above the roaring, crocodile infested waters on that ONE thread of hope. You were and still are a DAMN good mom.

  3. What can I even say? I am so sorry. I am angry for you. I am sorry for getting irritated at my kids and not remembering every.single.time I do that there are so many moms that would literally give every fiber of their being to have theirs back. I am so sorry. I am sorry I don’t have the words or the power to take it all away for you. I am sorry.

  4. We don’t know each other and the only thing we have in common is motherhood, yet I am so drawn to your writings. I think about you and your beautiful little girl so often, even more so this time of year and it makes me appreciate every little thing in life because I could be you, any of us could be you. It reminds me how fragile life is and to never take it for granted because in a split second, any of us could be you. When my son started driving, everytime he was out and my phone rang, I panicked that something could have happened. I could also very easily blame myself if something happened and I was the one that let him go out that night. Maybe it was rainy and dark and hard to see and i should have made him stay home. Truth is you probably always blame yourself even though anyone who has read anything you have written, knows what an amazing mother you were to her. It’s not you fault, it’s cancers fault, something you had no control over. Anytime I’m feeling a little bit sorry for myself for some stupid little thing, I think of you and refuse to let myself feel sorry for myself, yet it makes me feel so blessed for what I have, no matter what I may be going through. I know you help and inspire more people than you know. If more people could be like you and care about the things that really matter, the world would be a better place. I pray for you often to find some peace in the fact that you have her the best 4 and a half years any child could ask for.

  5. Thank you for being so brutally and beautifully honest. I can not and would not ever try to compete with the overwhelmingly powerful and “kick in the stomach” rawness of this post. I want to say one thing. Keep writing, we are all listening. My heart just felt like it was going to stop. I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything so life changing. Please don’t stop. The self absorbed, greedy, and cruel world needs to hear the truth. This is truth. I am stunned into silence.

    1. Completely agree with this. My stomach hurts so bad reading this. But I read it repeatedly, wishing if I could acknowledge your experience more it would hurt you less. You have every right to be angry.

  6. There is nothing at all that is fair, understandable, or acceptable about your sweet Kate leaving this earth. I hear people say “time heals.” NO, IT DOES NOT! And truthfully, it doesn’t even “help!” It just hurts. The deep, dark pit of anger rises to the surface just long enough for others to feel uncomfortable and in a flash, it gets shoved back down so as to avoid that uncomfortable silence followed by a distance that only creates loneliness, which leads to more anger. Only this time, the anger is self directed for “making someone else feel uncomfortable.”

    There is no timetable or formula for grieving. Say whatever you need to say whenever you need to say it.

  7. I certainly can’t speak to your tremendous loss, pain, anger and grief. Your love for Kate will never go away so your loss will always be there…but I hope you find a way to not feel guilty. Many of us who have kids with cancer have a chance to feel guilty, trying to figure out what went wrong, what didn’t we do, even what happened during pregnancy, etc. It’s hard not to go into all the “what if” scenarios. You don’t know if you acted sooner if anything would have changed…and it could have been worse for her, as you’ve written in the past. I hope you find a way to know you deserve peace and even happiness because your beautiful daughter would want you to have that. If you truly believe in the signs she sends you, then somehow you have to keep going, keep finding your peace.

  8. I️ don’t know what to say to help you feel better….You have every right to your feelings…I️ don’t know you but my heart breaks for you….Say what you feel like saying and know someone is listening to you.🙏🏻💕

  9. 😔😞 im sorry your so angry but I completely understand why. I don’t know exactly how you feel but I understand what you mean…..I’m sorry your baby is in heaven but don’t blame yourself, your a damn good Mom.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and I’m sorry your so angry and that’s your perogative to feel the way you do and get another therapist….it’s easier said than done to “move on with life” 😡 You don’t want to without your angel.

    Take care and thank you for your honest words.

  10. Lindsey, I am so truly sorry that you don’t have that precious sweet adorable little girl to wrap your arms around…to not be able to hold her and give her one more kiss…to not get to watch her grow into a beautiful young women..I can’t even imagine. Your anger is justified again I can’t even imagine. My husband is a Florida Licensed counselor not sure where you are but he has helped many in similar situations to cope…and redirect that anger. If you would like to check out our website to see if there is something that might seem to connect with you can just give us a call to try and work something out. ghpcounselingservices.com Please know you will be in our prayers.

  11. I’ve not had the chance to meet you, and never had the chance to meet your beautiful little girl, and so I think I’ve missed something special on both parts. I’ve still got my daughter from her battle with cancer, and since I’ve never lost a child, I can’t imagine the pain you are going through every minute of every day. Please know that you and those she left behind are in our thoughts and prayers! God Bless You!

  12. Don’t ever let anyone make your feelings feel “wrong”. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel that your stage of grief is the “wrong stage to be in”. Your anger is justified. Please don’t ever ever apologize for your feelings or anger. They are your feelings! I want you to know how deeply sorry I am for the suffering you endure. Your friends love you and you won’t lose anyone for posting what you need to say.
    Until you lose a child, people can’t relate. They just can’t, and they never will. It’s just the raw truth.
    i praise your candid honesty.

    1. You have every right to be bloody angry at this cruel world and the stupid way it works!! No one has the right to judge you on your real raw emotions . Unless they to have loved and lost a life so precious and innocent , that you bought into this world. You also will take a lifetime to grieve and will forever be asking why your child??? All I can say is to take one day at a time to feel however you want . No words can ever explain why it happens?? Or help you feel better about it all . I’m just so deeply sorry that’s you have had to deal with this heartbreaking tragedy , may you one day try and find some peace within yourself ❤️

  13. I am Angry too,,,I lost my mom at only 19,,,I woke up to hear a call saying ur mom passed and I thought she was cancer free,,cancer robbed her vision robbed everything,,,PTSD is real and what’s worse is you can’t tell anyone they won’t get it,,,Like how could she go from normal to cancer then being told she is cancer free,,,one day she was driving and she randomnly said I can’t see,,that forever haunts me,,now I look back saying if maybe I didn’t feed her this if I didn’t cook this if I told her to go to the doctor,,,all I can say is God is there and it’s ok to be angry,,God is there and he is good.I️ think about Kate always and I know she is out there smiling down on you giving you hugs and kisses praying for you always

  14. My sweet, sweet Lindsay, I am so sorry that the world continues to evolve around you when YOUR world stopped 22 months ago. I can’t think of a better place to feel safe with your feelings than “Kate’s Cause.” Please know that you are deeply loved and it is OK that YOU deeply loved. Papa said it so well, “When you love so much, you hurt so much.” Mourning has many extensions and they all come from love. I continue to pray for understanding, peace and comfort for you and Mike. I love you both so very much.
    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

  15. I think any damn good mom in your position would feel the same way so I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with your thoughts and feelings. There are people who have gone through even less horrible situations than you have and share the same thoughts & feelings.

  16. You don’t know me. I don’t know you. I DO know your Kate knows she is loved. I can feel YOUR LOVE FOR HER from where I sit. She can feel it too. She knew. She knows now. SOULMATES. Forever. I’ve never been more sure.

    I wish peace for your shattered heart.

  17. Oh how you are not alone in your feelings! I feel the exact same way! Blame and guilt!!! And no one knows! I have been so good at hiding it and faking it that no one knows!!!! Not what I feel inside!!! I go to work everyday, I smile and talk with my co-workers, I clean house and cook dinner and do everyday normal things but inside, where no one can see or feel… I blame myself for Paisley’s death and I’m angry at myself all the time. She had an infection that I’m almost 99% sure I could have prevented! You are the 1st person I am telling this too!

  18. I can’t even begin to tell you how very sorry I am for you and your family. I did not lose a child to cancer, but I have lost 2 children. Both were miscarriages, and the first one I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant with in the first place. I remember the shock and joy I felt the day the doctor called to tell me I was pregnant. I even told them they must have had the wrong person! Three months later, after 2 healthy ultrasounds, I had a 3rd and was told “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat”. The weight of the world suddenly landed on my chest and I couldn’t breathe. My baby, my miracle baby, was gone almost as soon as it was given to me. I will never know if it was a boy or girl. Six months and one surgery later, I lost my second. This time having to live through it at home. I will never, ever forget those days when my babies were given and then taken away from me. I was angry for a long long time. I didn’t even speak to my sister for about a year due to some comments she made to me while going through this living hell. Although I did not experience child loss the same as you, the anger and grief I felt was the worst thing I have ever felt. They were my babies. I never even got to hold them or look into their eyes for even a split second. I often wonder what their names would have been and if they would have had their daddy’s smile and my persistence. Or maybe my hair and their daddy’s sense of humor. You are allowed to feel angry. You are allowed to grieve for your child. You are allowed to feel any of the feelings you have. I was angry, sad, depressed, and guilty all at the same time…and some days it might be more anger than anything else. And that’s OK! People who have never been through the loss of a child, preborn or otherwise, can never know and understand. You accept that they can’t understand, and at the same time are grateful that they can’t, because it’s a living hell. But sometimes I know you just need someone who does. Who can allow you to say what you need, feel what you need to feel, and just BE. I will lift you up in prayers for all that you’re going through. May you find peace in your heart…

  19. I am so very sorry. There are no words for me to gather to offer at this moment that will sooth you and your deep wound. You are more than 100% entitled to feel the way you do and to express it. I have never walked this road of utter despair that you are on and i pray with all I have that this horrific pain never enters my life. You ARE an amazing mom and stronger than most. I am sending hugs to you because it’s all i can. You should always post WHATEVER you are living and feeling. It’s cathartic for you and a good reminder to us all about what in life really matters

  20. Be angry, that’s ok (I know I am boneheaded but I would rather say something than nothing and my heart fully goes out to you)

  21. Lindsay, I know I’ll never have the right words, but just want to join the ranks of people who tell you that you are brave and real and your immense love and loss, and even anger, never need to be hidden. Sending love to you and your family.

  22. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. All I can say is that you ARE a wonderful mom. Your beautiful Kate had to have been a very blessed little girl for every moment she lived because the love that comes through when you write about her is amazing. You will be Kate’s Mom every day of your life and even on days when you feel you aren’t doing a good job, you are doing the best you can that day and that’s all you can ask of a broken heart. You are in my prayers and from one mom to another, I’m sending you love.

  23. You have done an amazing job raising awareness for childhood cancer and sharing Kate’s wonderful (albeit tragically short) life with all the world, all the while immersed in such horrible, consuming loss and grief. You no doubt have MANY feelings that need to be experienced and integrated in order for you to begin some healing. I pray for you, your husband, and your long road ahead.

  24. You are a phenomenal mom! You have every God given right to feel angry at everything, ALL the time! Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel or make suggestions on how to handle their grief. Until anyone has been in your shoes, they will never get it. She’s with you, always.

  25. Thank you for hitting the publish button. Your sharing help’s some many have a glimpse into your heart, Which is real and raw! Hug’s

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