When Grief becomes Rage

Anger and Rage from broken dreams & waiting to long for someone

As we get older, we tend to look back a little more. Looking back can bring joy, comfort, or regret. Thinking about the loss of life, dreams, or direction brings different emotions to each of us. I have been full of rage for the last month. A rage that overtakes me when something happens that would usually not bother me. Anger that turns ugly and makes me shake inside because it scares me to have this feeling.

Stepping back, I need to give some explanation. A secret many don’t know and less understand. This secret involves a friend who was so much more to me than just a friend. He was supporting when I needed it; he was a love I was afraid to take; he was fear that covered me; he was the one I waited for without knowing.
My friend died, and all I had was a Facebook notice that something happened. He went to my son’s church, and my son did not know the amount of emotion and connection we had, so I was not told he had joined his church. He was in the hospital dying, and I did not know. I was not told he died. I read it on Facebook. Rage and sadness overtook me- my heart hurt!

This man was a boy when we met. He was in love with someone I had yet to learn I was. During this broken girl’s most challenging time, pregnant and scared. Worried about what to do with my life, the child I was carrying, and our future. This boy was there- sitting on the couch at night with me, laughing at nothing, listening to silly girl stories, and waiting for a child to be born.
He had so much growing up to do- two years younger than me and still a year of high school to go- a child was not really in his future. He believed the unborn child was for him to raise. He thought we were his future. Not knowing what to do- I did nothing, just walked the path set before me.

My son was born all 7lbs and 3 oz of him; blue eyes, blond hair, and red wrinkled skin. He did not have a name because the boy had put a fleece before the Lord. He asked God to have me name him SEAN. I could not fathom naming a child Sean. It did not seem right to me. Shawn was how you would spell it- or I thought it was how you would spell it. I was thinking up names for this baby boy while he laid at the bottom of my hospital bed. I could not think of what he was- his name did not pop off him (I just turned 19 and felt a child should tell you what they should be named, or maybe God?)

As I looked at this baby, I reached for my bible. I opened it up after praying- “God, what is his name?” The hospital bible fell to John- I named him Shawn. Once again, for a middle name, I opened the bible, and it opened to Matthew. Did God answer the boy’s fleece? I don’t know. What I know is years later, while he was struggling with cancer, he sent me a message saying: “you should have named him SEAN- I would have known and fought harder.” I had to agree with him; maybe we made a few mistakes?

Looking back brought me to a place of rage and sorrow. That boy, now a man, had so many chances to make it right and come back into our lives. We circled each other for years. We had gotten together time and time again, but nothing seemed to work. We loved each over with our whole hearts and promised to wait. A silly promise, I know. Silly as it was, we held on to it. We met others, married other people, divorced, and got engaged to other people, but never to marry again- always waiting for something to happen.

I followed the path before me- he called and asked me to wait for him to stop drinking and get his life in order. I followed my path, moved on to do what God was calling me to do. Focused on my family- now three boys and eight grandchildren. Anger over what we could have had, what I may have missed out on, and the unknown creeps up when I least expect it.

I don’t regret my choices because I have three wonderful boys (now men) and grandchildren. The road not traveled was rocky, stony, unknown, and confusing. It was a road of emotional torment and wonder.
Thinking of him in heaven (if you believe in that which I do), I wonder what he will say to Jesus when he says, “why did she not name him SEAN?” I imagine he will say:” Look at all the chances I gave you to make it right, all the time you could have had, all the choices you made which lead you away, and all the happiness you missed out on.”

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if he walked into the church and said, ” I object to this marriage” instead of coming to my place of work and saying, “marry me instead?”

His death has affected me more than people know. It was a heartache I have never felt before. His family had a private ceremony. The community had a living celebration; I could not bring myself to attend.

The person they all knew was not the person I know. It was not the person I prayed for, waited for, and dreamed of living life together. They knew someone who was not the boy who grew to the man I waited for over 40 years. His death was not unexpected, but the effect it has on me is.
Emotional baggage and rage can come in many forms- this one was new to me. Now I understand a new level of emotion, desire, and sorrow.

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