I expressed my anger today. I was surprised at myself — I am someone who rarely admits to being angry, even when I am. I try to talk myself out of it, I tell myself it’s not justified, I look for the other person’s point-of-view… but this time, I was just too pissed off to not say something. I suppose that might be because it was on my son’s behalf, not my own, but still, it was unusual for me.
A few years ago, I did some intense therapy workshops where we did “anger exercises.” I was not good at them. Like, seriously, terrible. I mostly just cried. Completely incapable of defending myself with anger, even when it was justified. And even with this — I’m so angry that my hands are shaking, but I also feel like, oh, I shouldn’t have said anything, I should be more understanding, blah-blah-blah. But I think the therapist at my anger workshop would probably be patting me on the back and saying “good job.” Since she’s not here, I will do it myself. Good job, me!
The details: his paternal grandmother died this week. They were close; he’d spent a lot of time visiting her one-on-one. I would say that she was the grandparent that he knew best and certainly the one that he spent the most time with. His father and uncles scheduled her memorial service for two months away — on the weekend of his college graduation! This is a kid who was diagnosed as profoundly learning disabled at 8, who was maybe never going to learn to read because his disability was so severe. His college graduation is an achievement, a triumph. And they care so little about it, about him, that they plan her memorial service for the same time. Yeah, I’m angry.
When I started to write this post, I was actually going to write about how the nature noises of my campground — many nature noises! — have changed to neighbor noises with the weekend. Loads of people on spring breaks, I think. Lots and lots of little kids. I liked the nature noises, but I like watching all the kids on their bikes, too. This morning, when I took Zelda out for her walk, it was also the time when moms of toddlers take the toddlers out so everyone else can get some sleep. Toddlers can have southern accents. That should have been obvious, but wow, a toddler with a southern accent is adorable.
I’d intended to go for a good walk. I brought the camera and even the water bottle for the dog, so that we could hike for miles. But Zelda refused. It was both funny and charming. She sat down, head cocked, ears up, indicating quite clearly that she was not walking the way I was headed. I think the boardwalk probably has fewer interesting smells for her, since it’s above the wetlands and less used, but she was determined that what we were doing instead was wandering around the campground and letting her smell every interesting post. There are many posts. It was a slow walk. Not at all what I’d had in mind, but the toddlers made up for it.
I am with you in your outrage. I am sitting here hoping that R chooses to attend his graduation and can come to some peace about missing his grandmother’s funeral. There are so many ways he can remember her, including sending something to be read at the service. But R and his biggest fan (you) should be in Sarasota.
Actually, because I want all stories to have happy endings…I’m really sitting here hoping someone on that side of the family gets smart and moves the memorial back or forward one freakin’ week.
They’re going to try to move the service out a day, so R will graduate, then hop on a plane and hope to make it to Seattle in time. But they were all appropriately apologetic! And thank you for your sympathy! I always second guess myself when I get angry, so I appreciate the validation!
Setting the memorial service for the very weekend your son is graduating is terribly unfeeling and hurtful for you and your son. You have every right to be mad–and to voice your anger at those who are responsible. On the other hand, I had to laugh at Zelda and her determination to make you walk where SHE wanted to walk!! Tooo funny by half.
She did the same thing for our evening walk! This campground must really have some interesting smells.
I so wish you and R didn’t have to deal with that. But Bravo!! on the totally legitimate indignation. It’s a good skill to have, as rage is the only language some people understand. 🙁
Thank you! I’m very bad at rage — I spent the whole day stewing when I really needed to just let go and breathe. But I’m glad I said something. They’re going to move the service out at least a little and R’s going to try to get there after graduation.
Totally understand your outrage, but I’d like to put a spin on it. Your son’s grandmother is much more memorialized in his graduation than some gathering of people talking about her. I suspect she was instrumental in his ability to be successful by having a relationship with him. His walk means more than words spoken about some who has passed. So may I suggest leave your anger about the inconsiderate schedule and fully immerse yourself in the absolute joy of his success and honor the impact his grandmother had in helping him be the person he has become.
That is a lovely way to look at it — thank you for the spin!
Outrage, incredulity, disappointment … I’m glad you let your anger out. Now on to joy at R’s impending graduation!!
Seriously, can you believe it? They only moved it out a couple hours so he is going to miss it. 52 weekends in a year, planning out two months in advance and it would have killed them to consider his schedule? He says it’s fine, but he would, of course. I’m not speaking to any of them. Just done.
Just remember: his grandmother is more likely to be at his graduation with him, instead of somewhere where people don’t think about these things.
Excellent way to look at it!
Judy, Judy, Judy said:
Telling yourself that anger is wrong or harmful is a society thing. I have always thought it was wiser to teach children healthy ways to deal with anger rather than trying to pretend it’s never justified.
Glad your relatives came to their senses. R deserves his graduation and his grief.
I believe that, too, actually, but I wasn’t raised that way and I haven’t been able to rewire those emotional connections. Maybe someday! I really rarely get angry, though — I can almost always see that there’s another side to the story. In this case, the other side is thoughtless, inconsiderate, and selfish. Ha.