Thursday, May 19, 2016

#SOL16: An Angry Litany or 150 Things I Need to Shout

Closed Off.

I'm not an angry person, usually. Live and let live is an adage that often works for me--although less so now. My default is more often to feeling sadness, rather than anger.

I've been the good girl for so long, even thinking that perfection was needed for love--a belief my husband helped me to unlearn. This recent sense of anger that floods me feels oddly empowering and disquieting at the same time.  So I am nothing if not conflicted.


This morning I am learning that there are few differences among the many ways I am feeling angry. Beneath each anger is a sadness so hard to express that the anger bubbles up obfuscating the sadness like the white gesso I spread across each journal page. But anger bleeds through most of my actions and thoughts. I have been advised to get the anger out.  So here goes...

  1. I'm angry at myself for every mean thing I said to Rob during our 28 years together. Please forgive me.
  2. I'm angry with Rob for dying.
  3. I'm angry for Rob leaving me. 
  4. I'm angry that Rob won't see his son age. He won't see him dressed up for the prom next week, or his high school graduation, or be here when the letter comes for college acceptance.  He will miss all of Devon's milestones as an adult. 
  5. I'm angry that I sob off and on each day sometimes for what feels like an endless amount of time.
  6. I'm angry that I can't talk about Rob without crying.
  7. I'm angry that when I walk I sometimes cry. Being public and in tears is uncomfortable.
  8. I'm angry that we had no inkling any of this would happen and it is all so shocking and so fast.
  9. I'm angry and wounded that my son won't have his father and he is barley 17 and there's nothing I can do. 
  10. I'm angry that there will be no more car trips with Rob and that last summer we didn't go on holiday.
  11. I'm angry that I have no one who will read to me at night like Rob did for 28 years.
  12. I'm angry that there is no one to share details from the Sunday paper over coffee.
  13. I'm angry that our bed is so fucking large and empty.
  14. I'm angry that nothing smells of Rob that I have left.
  15. I'm angry that each time I get rid of something that was Rob that it feels like an injury to him and us.
  16. I'm angry that I only have his voice recorded on my phone.
  17. I'm angry that I took so many landscape images and not enough of Rob over the years.
  18. I'm angry at every good summer movie that will come out that Rob won't see.
  19. I'm angry that there is no one who I want to go see a drive-in movie with in Warwick.
  20. I'm angry that I am a widow. I hate that name.
  21. I'm angry that Rob will never see the plants I planted this spring or the peonies that are just about to bloom in a garden I dug 14 years ago.
  22. I'm feeling nuclear at the medical mistakes that compounded Rob's too early death and so severely lessened the quality of the handful of months he had from diagnosis to death. Rob went from walking fine (Sept.), to being a bit wobbly (October), to needing a cane (November), then a walker (November), to next having to use a transport chair (December), to being immobile (January), and at the end forgetting that he no longer could stand let alone walk and asking me each morning to help him stand so he could walk to the bathroom (February). 
  23. I'm  angry at the attending doctor in the Step-Down unit who spoke about Rob to the residents as if he was some problem put there for the doctors to offer hypotheses. Drs. please learn.
  24. I'm  angry at the senseless surgeries Rob suffered through that were so unnecessary.
  25. I'm angry at the doctor who told us 8 weeks before Rob died that he had at least another year to 18 months to live. How did he get this so wrong?
  26. I'm  angry with God for cheating Rob and me of the 25 years those life expectancy charts say is our due. 
  27. I'm angry with myself now that I realize that as I walk, I am checking out the entrances to houses I pass by and seeing which ones would be best for Rob given his inability to walk. I realize that I am crossing off the houses where renovation would be extensive as if this need was still a need. 
  28. I'm unsettled by those who are kind to me as it leaves me feeling so vulnerable, so not-together.
  29. I'm angry with the federal government that I have one year to list myself as married on my tax return and then I must be single again. Really?
  30. I'm pissed at the IRS who sent me a $4000 bill last week with no explanation save they discounted something from the taxes I filed in April. I have never done our taxes and this year they need to find something to discount? Is there no 'just lost her husband, so leave her alone' clause in the tax code? 
  31. I'm angry I will never touch or kiss Rob again.
  32. Some mornings I'm pissed at the poor kid who hands me a cup of java at our neighborhood coffee spot for no reason I can even muster. (Sorry)
  33. I'm angry at having to share the road with the overly-privileged drivers in Bergen County--yes all of them. (Ok, truth here is this anger started well before Rob's death. Driving in NJ is no picnic.)
  34. I am angry at having to tell so many working at state and federal agencies, banks, utilities, newspapers, etc. that Rob has died.
  35. I am angry when I hear someone I don't know say the perfunctory, "Sorry for your loss."
  36. I'm angry each time someone asks, How are you doing?
  37. I'm pissed at the doctors who still are sending bills for services the insurance company already paid. How much do you want?
  38. I'm resentful that I paid the doctor last fall who set Rob's death in motion by failing to properly treat the staph infection his colleague gave to Rob the month earlier. This error caused my husband such harm and resulted in Rob needing thoracic surgery, the removal of a rib, and the continued delay of cancer treatment--treatment he received once. I understand (sometimes) that Rob may have died anyway because of the lung cancer, but I also know that these errors caused him so much unnecessary suffering. 
  39. I'm angry at the surgeon who put an infected port into my husband's chest in mid-September and that he never apologized for such a gross error.
  40. I'm angry that I have no plan for Rob's ashes and that he never had the chance to tell me what he wanted me to do. 
  41. I'm angry at all the right-wing conservatives who stand in the way of government funding for stem-cell research.  No embryo is equal to an actual human life cut short.
  42. I'm resentful of couples as I think, You have my life. And no, I'm not interested in truth here. 
  43. I'm angry at everyone who is planning holidays and barbecues and dreaming of a future. 
  44. I'm angry at having to endure each holiday without Rob.
  45. I'm angry at couples who go to the library together.
  46. I'm angry at dealing with government agencies who keep losing forms.
  47. I'm angry at having to pay bills each week. This was a job Rob did throughout our marriage and I suck at it.
  48. I'm angry about having to teach Devon to drive. Rob was supposed to do this. We had agreed.
  49. I'm angry that I am not as spontaneous as Rob and that Devon feels that absence so much.
  50. I'm angry that if I should injure myself while out walking that there is no one to call.
  51. I'm angry that such a great man died so damn early.
  52. I'm angry that the closet is half empty and the dresser draws are vacant.
  53. I'm angry that a hat Rob wore is left hanging on a hatrack.
  54. I'm angry that I can't bear to pack up Rob's toothbrush or shaver.
  55. I'm angry that I sold Rob's car.
  56. I'm angry each time someone asks me to tell how Rob died or to provide them with the date.
  57. I'm angry each time I send a death certificate to some agency, etc.
  58. I'm angry when I sit at home and can still see in my mind the hospital bed in the family room where Rob died.
  59. I'm angry that I cannot forget the sound of the oxygen machine.
  60. I'm angry at all the narcotics Rob took to ease the cancer pain and how it took him away from me.
  61. I'm angry that my husband suffered so much.  This is a wound I cannot heal and I want to.
  62. I'm angry that making a life means leaving Rob behind.
  63. I'm angry that I can never make up the huge hole in Devon's life that Rob's death has caused.
  64. I'm so fucking angry that my son hurts from all of this.
  65. I'm angry that all the past hurts, hurt more now.
  66. I'm angry that I am scared of things I can't even name.
  67. I'm angry that I didn't insist that Rob be treated at a NY hospital.
  68. I'm angry that I only need to make one cup of tea at night.
  69. I'm angry that there is no one to recommend the unusual book, author, or essay to read.
  70. I'm angry that my husband, the poet, will write nothing more, nor read his work aloud.
  71. I'm angry that my favorite editor and co writer writes no more.
  72. I'm angry that my business partner isn't here to share ideas, joys, triumphs, failures.
  73. I'm angry that now I drive to Newark alone.
  74. I'm angry that it will soon be summer and most every summer we spent the majority of it on the road. No longer.
  75. I'm angry that I can't come downstairs and find Rob reading The Times at the kitchen table early int he morning.
  76. I'm angry that when I am ill there is no Rob to care for me as he did.
  77. I'm angry that Rob and I won't get to write that book we had planned to write.
  78. I'm angry that our plans--so many--are all lost.
  79. I'm angry that I lost a part of myself on March 8 when Rob died.
  80. I'm angry that my life is so unsteady.
  81. I'm angry that March 8 was unseasonably warm and beautiful.
  82. I'm angry that no one will every love me like Rob did. 
  83. I'm angry that Rob had only 16+ years with his son.
  84. I'm angry that I can't control most anything that matters.
  85. I'm angry that sadness seeps into most every happy occasion now.
  86. I'm angry that I sleep alone and restlessly.
  87. I'm angry that even though I turned the mattress so I could sleep on top of the side Rob last slept on, it offers little comfort.
  88. I'm angry that I will never look through a viewfinder and find Rob.
  89. I'm angry that he died so damn fast taking with him such immense beauty.
  90. I'm angry that my hold on life is so strong.
  91. I'm angry that I loved him with everything and the hurt is so big and continuous.  
  92. I'm angry that loss is so permanent.
  93. I'm angry that spring came without Rob.
  94. I'm angry that I didn't meet Rob earlier so I could have more time with him.
  95. I'm angry that lives are measured.
  96. I'm angry that I am blindsided continuously because Rob and I shared so much.
  97. I'm angry that I can't recall what Rob last said to me.
  98. I'm angry that Rob's last breath is seared into my memory.
  99. I'm angry that there is a large empty space in the garage where Rob's car used to sit. I hate coming home and seeing that empty spot.
  100. I'm angry that death happens to good people like Rob.
  101. I'm angry that Rob won't get a chance to cast a ballot in the fall. He loved talking politics, almost as much as he loved talking literature.
  102. I'm angry every time a cancer treatment ad comes on the radio. 
  103. I'm angry that I lost my soul mate and feel so adrift. 
  104. I'm angry I was an orphan and that Rob's leaving has me feeling orphaned again.
  105. I'm angry at every couple I see, especially those walking and holding hands or leaning into one another.
  106. I'm angry that by Rob dying insurance money was added to our bank account.
  107. I'm angry at people I barely know and who Rob barely knew who tell me how devastated they are because Rob died.
  108. I'm angry at people who tell me how I should feel.
  109. I'm angry that I believed there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.
  110. I'm angry at people who wrote about profound loss from a clinical perspective. This isn't something you know by studying.
  111. I'm angry I was so damn polite during Rob's illness.
  112. I'm angry at all of the rituals Rob and I created that feel out of balance without him.
  113. I'm angry that I will never again know the depth of passion that I knew with Rob.
  114. I'm angry that if I say the phrase, "Snow angels in Vermont," no one on this planet now will understand what I mean.
  115. I'm angry that I love Rob so much and that such love could not save him.
  116. I'm angry that I thought love had such power.
  117. I'm angry that I will never hear Rob call my name again.
  118. I'm angry that I'm angry.
  119. I'm angry that I am so lost without Rob and that I have difficulty remembering most things.
  120. I'm angry that my life has changed and will continue to change and that makes me feel out of control.
  121. I'm mad as hell that useless men are living when Rob is not.
  122. I'm mad that people voted for Donald Trump whose arrogance reminds me that useless men are alive and Rob is not.
  123. I'm angry each time someone tells me, "You look good." or  "Are you sleeping okay?" or "You look worn out." or "You have to take care of yourself" or "Rob would want you to..."
  124. I'm angry that I'm so envious of other people's happiness.
  125. I'm angry that each day the mail arrives and in it is mail for Rob.
  126. I'm angry with the Democratic party who phones to solicit donations from my dead husband.
  127. I'm angry that I don't have millions and could donate tons and tons of money to leftwing progressive media like The Nation in Rob's name.
  128. I'm angry every time The Threepenny Review arrives and Rob isn't here to read it.
  129. I'm angry that a beloved teacher died and mean people in the world still live.
  130. I'm angry that I don't have someone at home I can chuckle with while reading the cartoons in  The New Yorker.
  131. I'm angry that somewhere right now someone else is getting devastating news that her husband's illness is terminal. 
  132. I'm angry that somewhere right now a child is learning that his dad won't see another birthday. 
  133. I'm angry that cancer has not been cured. Let's get that fucking done.
  134. I'm angry at the stack of Walter Benjamin books I can't seem to move. I wished Rob and I could have talked about that more.
  135. I'm angry that I have misplaced Rob's notebooks somewhere in the house.
  136. I'm angry that I am so forgetful.
  137. I'm angry that I can see a future now.
  138. I'm angry that the future I see does not have my beloved in it.
  139. I'm angry that I can't find Dev's social security card because neither Dev nor I know where Rob put it.
  140. I'm angry I didn't pay better attention to house matters like when does the septic tank need to be cleaned? Or the Fireplace? What was that Rob said about bleeding some line? 
  141. I'm angry that when Dev and I are out at dinner, we are each missing Rob.
  142. I'm angry each time I see a ken ken puzzle and remember that Rob isn;t here to solve it.
  143. I'm angry that the brown cardigan Rob wore as he wrote downstairs remains folded over the back of his chair and I don't have the will to touch it.
  144. I'm angry that Rob never finished Krantzman.
  145. I'm angry that I lost the love letters Rob wrote to me years ago.
  146. I'm angry that I didn't save every card Rob wrote me.
  147. I'm angry that I will have to pack up this house and move at some point.
  148. I'm angry that I loved so deeply and lost that love.
  149. I'm angry that I learned TM after Rob's death and that he didn't get a chance to practice it with me.
  150. Mostly, I'm angry that I could not save the man I love so deeply no mater how hard I tried. I have never wanted anything as much.  


  1. Dearest Mary Ann how brave you are to vent your anger, I hope that it has helped in a small way. You will heal in time, you will never forget and life will never be the same as with Rob but you will find peace in the future. Stay strong my friend I can not even imagine your pain and send love and positive vibes your way!

    1. Thank you Sonia. Yes, listing each anger has helped.

  2. Dearest Mary Ann how brave you are to vent your anger, I hope that it has helped in a small way. You will heal in time, you will never forget and life will never be the same as with Rob but you will find peace in the future. Stay strong my friend I can not even imagine your pain and send love and positive vibes your way!

  3. So often society tries to sanitize death and to shield us from the pain. Mary Ann your post does just the opposite. It shows death in all its jagged ugliness and pain that cuts to the very core of our being. I hope that with the passing of time you will find peace and comfort and perhaps even find love again.

    1. Thanks Jim for taking time to read and respond to this post. Posting most days has helped me a lot. I appreciate your kindness and good wishes.

  4. Anger is very much a part of grief; of course you are angry... But you are brave,too, to put it all out there, to vent it, to rage against the fates and life and whatever sets the wheels turning. Jim's comment above is so wise...and you are so brave.

    1. Thank you Tara. Whatever sets the wheels turning is something for me to remember.

  5. So raw and so right to express. Blessings to you at this challenging time.

    1. Blessings appreciated and needed. Thank you.