The Anger and the Guilt I can Handle - It's the 'Missing Her' I Can't Stand

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The Anger and the Guilt I can Handle - It's the 'Missing Her' I Can't Stand

by Hugh Pickens

June 1, 2018

I was messaging with someone a few days ago who had also recently lost someone and they asked me how I had coped with the situation. Here's what I told them.

This is pretty raw.

Don't read it if you don't want to experience some strong emotions.


Ok, first there is the anger. The irrational anger at the abandonment. Why did you leave me. What did I do wrong? I'm so angry at you for leaving me.

Then there is the guilt. What could I have done differently so this didn't have to happen. It's all my fault. I could have done this or this or this and you would still be alive.

Both the anger and the guilt are the result of the feeling of powerlessness every human being feels when he confronts the reality of his own death or the death of a lover.

The anger and the guilt are coping mechanisms. The reality of the situation is too awful to understand and face, so we substitute other strong emotions (anger, guilt) to distract us from the pain we are feeling.

Sometimes you just have to cry. Sometimes that's the only way to get it out.

I'm over the anger and guilt. I've processed those. I understand them. That's the copying mechanism my mind tries to use to take my mind off the feeling of powerlessness in confronting the ultimate reality of death.

At this point, what I am feeling is primarily loss. I miss her. I spent 33 years with her. She knew me. She loved me anyway. I don't have my best friend to talk to anymore and I never will again. I would give anything to have her back again.

Sometimes I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. I hear a voice saying "I wish I was dead. I wish I was dead. I wanna be dead." over and over again. But I force myself up and generally I have found that those first few minutes of the day are the hardest after I have awoken from dreaming about her. If I can just make myself get up, I can get through the day.

That's what works for me. Sometimes I have a relapse or a trigger and I relive the anger and guilt but I can always get back from that. I know how to handle that now. It re-occurs every few weeks or months and they are diminishing in intensity.

I think there is a half-life to pain. Do you know about radiation and nuclear isotopes? That's the physicist in me talking. I think that pain has a half life. After a year you have 100 units of pain, after two years maybe 50 units, after 3 years maybe 25 units.

The pain never really disappears entirely but it diminishes and you can learn to live with it.

The trouble is that you have to figure all this out for yourself. Somebody can tell you these things but it doesn't "take" unless you ask yourself the hard questions and figure them out for yourself. Ask yourself "Why am I angry at my lover. Why do I feel guilty for something over which I had no control?" Ask yourself these questions and figure it out for yourself.

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