Grief is making me angry and irritated

Charles is in the middle wearing a white shirt.

I am not accustomed to angry, irritable grief. It’s visited a few times but lately, that’s the emotion that has taken up residence. I’m not a pure joy to be around. Imagine that. Covid-19 has been, if not solely responsible, at least partly so. Because I am sick of it. I know everyone else is, too. But right now I don’t care how anyone else feels about it. I just want my two minutes to complain.

It feels as if I am a bumper car running into obstacles in a limited space and I’ve just run out of walls to crash into and I want to have a tantrum. I want to scream, “Let me out!”

In the past, the holidays have made me more melancholy and catatonic. But I”m pissed off that even in a pandemic, they had the audacity to invade my life yet again. Typically, I have had more anticipatory dread of them since Charles’s death. But this year, it’s like they snuck in through a cracked window when I wasn’t looking. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t out as much and stores didn’t stock Christmas stuff in August this year. I had no warning.

I am sick of the terms, pivot, and virtually. I am tired of changing my dog’s diapers. (Yep, our senior dog, Charles’s dog, is failing and that’s not helping either.) I am sick of my house and the same walls and I love this house and neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood. The neighborhood didn’t do anything to make me mad at it either. Neither did the house.

Mostly, I miss my kids. The one who died. And the one who lives in LA. And now I am unreasonably mad at everyone who was all polly positive about saying how I can hop on a plane to visit my oldest son in California. Hardly an easy thing to do right now. Richard will be here in a month, though.

The hardest part is the helplessness. Already at this time of year, that emotion holds me hostage, reminding me that my youngest child won’t sit in that empty chair. There is far too much I can’t do a darn thing about. And I just have to let that go.

I know I am lucky and blessed in so many ways but if you tell me that right now I might implode. I want freedom back. I want to travel and go to California when I want to. I want to hike on my go-to trail by the James River but it’s underwater right now. No finding solace there.

It’s a good thing that emotions are temporary. I know my husband thinks so, too.

I have to work on this mood today. My walking buddy Emily can always tell when I am struggling or irritable because I walk really fast and she has to skip to keep up. The power walk will help. And by the time I hit publish, writing this will have helped me work through this, too. So this post is my way of ushering them out.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

12 thoughts on “Grief is making me angry and irritated”

  1. I’m so sorry that Andy is failing, on top of everything else. Our family is too far apart to get together much. We’ll see each other in March and I’m glad to have that to look forward to. But in the meantime, I’m envious of those who will be gathering with loved ones, even though I know I have much to be thankful for.

  2. I totally get it. My son took his life six days after my birthday in October. His birthday (and that or his twin sister) is November 11. Then there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes I just wish I could I could disappear (or go to some place far away like BoraBora) from September until January. It has been a year since he died. Covid has made everything so surreal. At least he died when we could have his many friends and our loved ones together for the memorial service.

    We’re heading to the beach with our daughters and their families for Thanksgiving week. Screw Covid – we need to be together (we all live in different states). I’m needing to love on my babies and grand babies in the worst way. We certainly take reasonable precautions but I have to live with a semblance of normalcy to keep going. God help all of us get through the holidays. What once made me feel all warm and fuzzy now fills me with sadness and dread.

    1. Jenny- We, too, are gathering. I need to see family or I’ll just cave. And we will also view precautions and eat outside no matter how chilly (It’s NC by the way. Not real cold there this time of year.) I’ve often wanted to go somewhere else that whole time. Last year we did spend Christmas on a river cruise with my oldest and my mom. What a great memory. It was such a delightful journey. And others who had lost someone were also there. Thanks for commenting.

    2. Jenny – I am right there with you. My birthday, my son’s birthday, my son’s death day and the holidays are all from September 29 – January 1. I was the biggest Christmas person ever. Now it’s just a season of grief. Happy for you to have babies to hug on! Go do it girl. 👍🏻

  3. I know exactly how you feel. I am also so fed up with people invalidating me. I need to feel how I feel and not be made to feel guilty about it. I am letting my feelings out and I don’t care if people don’t get it. They don’t have to. They just need to be there for me.

  4. I think everyone is going through this in many ways right now. Having complicated grief definitely adds on to anxiety over the holidays, in regular situations. During COVID19 people are angry. Especially over worked Mom’s, it’s all very draining.

    I would never say feel fortunate for the life you have. I feel like that should be understood at a certain age. I also feel like people who say these things are not engaged in the conversation and making comments like those is a quick way to end the conversation. While having these emotions it is really important to self protect to feel safe. Limit your circle of friends to those that truly get you, and what you are going through. Avoid people who don’t know you that label you as a angry person, depressed person, and those that just think you are a Debbie Downer. You know that’s not true, and LOVE, and kindness are super important.

    Exercise is very helpful, but so is rest. Personally, my Doctor has helped me with hormones, painful connective tissue disorder, and holistic treatments that have really been a God send helping me with my spirituality and chronic pain.

    I know you know this, but express yourself always. Lead with kindness. Take some time alone or with a counselor to work through negative thoughts, grief, and anger. Always know you are moving forward, and processing. Pivoting? Please….😂

  5. Girl – you know I get it. But I have this every year – my birthday, his birthday, his deathday and Christmas. All in 3 months. And his little dog died 3 months later. So I get that too. You are completely entitled to 2 minutes. Hell, take 10.
    I’m not gonna say “at least” on Richard coming soon. That doesn’t help.
    Here’s how I’m starting to feel – if safety requires us to forfeit the most valuable parts of our lives, just what exactly are we trying to save? There – I said it. Now back to your regularly scheduled grief….I think your power walking is a good idea.

      1. Amen to that. I am wearing a mask and have sanitizer in the car. But I’m living life – I’m not hiding in the house for that reason. Other reasons, maybe, 🤪 but not that!

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