“Your relationships would also benefit great from a commitment to never part in anger. If the other person in the relationship is willing, make a commitment to one another that if there is a problem, a moment of anger, you will stay and work it through until you can part in love. We have seen over the years that if the final interaction with a loved one was of anger, the grieving process can be much more complicated.”
~~John E. Welshons, Awakening from Grief: Finding the Way Back to Joy
One of the harder things for the bereft to deal with is things that didn’t get said. Sometimes, an even tougher thing to reconcile with is the things that did get said.
I like John’s suggestion that if both partners (romantic, familial, etc) are willing to pledge to work on never parting in anger, a relationship can be stronger and the grief less complicated.
People may talk about kids having magical thinking… “I got made at my sister and told her I wished she was dead” and then at some point the sister dies and the child believes that they are the cause for the disease, accident, etc.
But adults do something similar… they may have had a relationship with someone for decades, a loving relationship where the two people really cared for and about each other, and there are harsh words or a rift of some sort and one of the people becomes very sick or dies. We tend to focus on that rift rather than all of the thousands of ways we showed that we cared.
Think about the adult child who has to put their aging parent in a nursing home because of ill-health, dementia, etc. The adult child might have promised that parent that day would never come and now it’s here. Or the parent went to live at the home and died…
In our grief, we will not think about all the doctor’s appointments we took that person on.
Or the trips to the store to get their favorite ice cream at 10 pm.
Or the holidays where we always made sure they had their favorite dish.
The flowers that they bought for no reason except that they loved the person.
But all that gets over looked because that one day when you had three hours of sleep you said to yourself, “When will this end.”
Or you fought about something minor and didn’t get the chance to make things right with each other.
Grief gives us the opportunity, more than many other experiences to do two things: to learn compassion and to learn forgiveness…. both of these in regards to ourselves and in regards to others.
If you need to walk away and cool off, do it… but don’t let a lot of time go by without at least saying, I’m angry and I love you.
- How Hot Is Your Anger? (elephantjournal.com)
- Factors that Influencing Grief (namasteconsultinginc.com)
- John Welshons: Living with and Learning from Grief (namasteconsultinginc.com)