I just figured it out today
I get so angry at our 12 year old, partially demented, joint-pained Puli who hates the heat.
Today, for his afternoon walk at the canal that runs through Cheshire just 1/4 mile down from our house, I drug him in one direction and he then pulled me back toward the parking lot and I drug him another direction and then he pooped. I'm not sure if I was angrier about dragging and being pulled or that he did, as he needed, finally pooped. I'm just aggravated and angry with him most of the time.
It's because, I realized in an Epiphany today, he's old and dying slowly and I'm turning my grief into anger.
I've been with people at over 800 funerals and at death beds in the hundreds. I know grief shows up in different ways--depression, anguish, confusion, denial and even, yes, anger.
But I haven't had to grieve much in my life. Oh, little griefs for all those people I've been with when they died but only a few personal griefs. When my mother died, my father and I were with her--she's the first person who I'd been present for their leave taking--and minutes later my father and I had a stupid argument about what shoes I'd wear to the funeral! I was angry. We would have fought about whatever came up that early morning on the loading dock of Bluefield General Hospital.
And when my father died, I was angry I wasn't with him. I had been with him minutes before he died and he told me, at St. Raphael's Hospital in New Haven, he was 'going home'. If a member of the parish I served had said that I would have stayed in my chair and waited to wish them well as they shuffled off this mortal coil. But it went right by me and I drove the 10 minutes home to get there just as the phone was ringing with the news of his death. Ten more minutes and I could have been with him. I was angry for weeks at my not knowing what he meant and my not being there at the end.
So, today, I realized I'm angry with Bela because he's failing in so many ways. It's grief turned to anger. I regret how I've yelled at him over the past few months, how impatient I've been, how angry my grief has become.
I resolve to grieve, not be angry, from here on out. It won't be easy since true grief in inward and anger is outward and the outward things of life are more comfortable and less threatening than the inward stuff.
But I love him so much I need to grieve by loving him, not being angry.
That's what I think and what I'll try ever so hard to do....It is so difficult: death in the face of love. But at least today I know what I need to do--for me and for him.....
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