David Jeremiah wrote, "journalizing, memorializes the blessings of God" in his book, "When Your World Falls Apart, Seeing Past the Pain of the Present." My dear family and myself have recently experienced a terrible tragedy, resulting in the death of my precious daughter, Samantha. This is an unwanted journey, one of the most difficult walks that any parent can experience. It is riddled with extreme grief, profound disorientation, and beautiful graces from God. He holds me close. He has not forsaken me. Even though, my heart is shredded with sadness, I shed buckets of tears, I question my purpose now and I wander astray at times, I know I love God. He is real and present. I know what I know!!! And, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to share with you. I have learned that I am at my best when I walk with God, not against Him.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anger - Constructive and Destructive

As good a day as Thursday was, it was that bad of a morning on Sunday.  I got mad!!  I got really mad!! I guess I'm experiencing a new stage of grief.  Yuck!

Faith 2011
I began to stew on Saturday evening.  David left early for the Saint's game.  Brooke spent the evening at a ball. Did either of them think about the puppy?!?!?!? Dave left at 2:00 pm and Brooke left at 4:00 pm.  If it weren't for me, the puppy would have been kenneled an inhumane amount of hours.  But, they knew I would be here - as always, to care for the homefront!  My stewing began to brim to the top and overflow.  I declared, I wasn't going to church, that I was taking a walk instead. (I was tired of doing what I was suppose to do!)   David knew!  I left, I headed for the trace, I walked, and cried and raged for 3 miles. I ranted to myself that I did everything I was suppose to do for Sam, made the sacrifices and now - I don't have her, I refuse to do that for the dog! On top of that, I didn't ask for any of this - I didn't do anything wrong to deserve this.  What the heck just happened to me?!?!?  I don't want my life to look like this! I was outdone! I berated myself for "taking" it all and especially for taking on the dog.  I'm not being the sole carer for this dog. As I walked, I began to separate my thoughts. I figured out that I wasn't at all angry that David and Brooke can enjoy  themselves.  Thank God, they can! Can you imagined if there was no blessed relief for any of us. To look at a picture with Brooke smiling and dancing brings great joy! The same with David.  I really like the dog, and am grateful for the funny antics of a puppy.  I love my church and I love going to church.

The root of my anger was that "I" can't "live" like they can!!  I can't go to a party, a football game, in a crowd and truly invest myself.  I don't want to be in a crowd, it is too noisy and my surroundings are too unexpected.  To try to participate in a rapid conversation, with several people causes my head/brain to feel squished, to tighten. I am better one-on-one, right now.   I can't compartmentalize this - I own it all the time.  Pushing against all of that, is my grasping for healing, I want to heal, I want to get better, I want to live! So, on my walk, I convinced myself that I needed to ignite and propel, my own healing.  In order for me to get where they are or can be, just sometimes,  I needed to "do" something to make myself better. I screamed at myself on the inside, that I needed to take the next step, to force it and in my moment of insanity, I decided that "the" next step was to clean out Sam's room.  I needed to just clean out her room, take down her bed, take her bulletin board down, along with the childhood mementos and give her stuff away. I marched home, slamming my feet to the ground, I was enraged. I flew through the door, thinking Dave and Brooke had left for church.  My plan was just to lock myself in her room and "just do it!"  I grabbed a garbage bag, started with the top drawer and went at it, shoving, and stuffing her dancewear into a garbage bag.  It was ugly!

David heard me and Brooke made a stop at home before church.  A bad scene indeed!  They entered the war zone with eyes wide, hearts racing and pleading voices to stop. I was in a battle for my life - doing "this" to move on and not wanting to have to do it!!  My stuffing slowed but, didn't stop as I began to reminisce about each garment.  They were in the room and I couldn't help but to speak to Brooke and David about each item - the memories attached to each one.  I bought each piece of clothing, other than the hand - me - downs (I know who they came from) and the ones received as gifts. I know it all. As I began to verbalize, the rage melted into deep sadness as I continued to touch her things.  Dave and Brooke convinced me to stop - I did.  I closed the drawer. In Sam's room, we sat and talked, they explained there ability to enjoy parts of life, constantly holding Sam close, sometimes fighting off the sadness, other time crying in solitude.   They told me not to compare myself to them and that I didn't "have" to "do" anything. Explaining, that I was Sam's "mom."  They assured me, that waking up, embracing the day and pleasant, sweet, living was all that they and me needed right now. A steady ship. The remainder of our day was spent just being together in peace. I was physically, mentally, emotionally spent.

I've recounted this round of events to several.  I have gained quite of bit of knowledge from this experience.  One of the most useful, having to do with constructive anger (righteous anger) vs. destructive anger. In the eyes of professionals, the anger on the trace was great - it was empowering - it was self preserving but, I gave way to destruction when I crossed the threshold in Sam's room.  Peace should prevail when I figure out what to do with Sam's things.   The girls, cousins included,  have always used each others clothing and accessories - just the other day Brooke used a pair of Sam's Christmas socks for school and a homemade, purple, Halloween cape for a spirit day.  I need to wait until I can do this with peace and with permission from Brooke and David.  We all need to be ready.

I guess this is one of those moments that I have feared.  Where negative eclipses good, where God's light didn't prevail , where I got angry and lost it.  I feared it would happen and it did.  In those few hours, the walk, the war zone and the recovery there wasn't much light.  I wrote about this possibility in my very first entry.  As always, a few days later I can see the beauty -one of those nuggets is that it brought Brooke to a new place within herself. (Compassion in Action) - She spent Monday searching for healing for me - she found and sent me this beautiful, perfect, comforting poem, that contains a reference to a "twinkling star" and a "brief, yet brilliant time spent together."   

From: brooke vinturella
Subject: read! its perfect. carry it with you all the time, it was meant for you mom
Date: January 9, 2012 4:40:23 PM CST
To: Elizabeth Vinturella, David Vinturella

When you wonder the meaning of life and love
Know that I am with you
Close your eyes and feel me kissing you in the gentle breeze across your cheek
When you begin to doubt that you shall never see me again
Quiet your mind and hear me
I am in the whisper of the heavens
Speaking of your love.
When you lose your identity
when you question who you are, where you are going;
Open your heart and see me.
I am the twinkle in the stars, smiling down upon you.
Lighting the path for your journey.
When you awaken each morning, not remembering your dreams,but feeling content and serene,
Know that I was with you, filling your night with thoughts of me.
When you linger in the remnant pain, wholeness seeming so unfamiliar, think of me.
Know that I am with you, touching you through the shared tears of a gentle friend easing the pain.
As the sunrise illuminates the desert sky; as that breathtaking brilliance awakens your spirit, think of our time together-all to brief but ever brilliant.
When you were certain of us together, when you were certain of your destiny, know that God created that moment in time just for us.
I am with you

My family is precious to me, I wish they didn't have to witness that but, I'm not going to beat myself up about this.  I know anger is a part of grief.  Just like everybody else that has experienced a loss, I'm moving through the stages - its a good thing. But, on my own, I realize that the emotion of anger doesn't change my Faith, doesn't change my Truth, doesn't change what resides in my heart.  Before this, there was a notion that if I got angry, I, myself, would interpret that action as a distancing from God.  I need Him close, I need Him to survive and prosper, it will be bad if He gets angry back at me! ( How silly to think that, Numbers 14:18 tells me, "The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.")   I couldn't allow myself to get angry. I didn't want the kids to see that.  It is not the way I want them to heal. I don't want to plant a seed of negativity in their hearts.   I don't feel that way anymore.  Also, there is no controlling it when it surfaces. So, now I need to understand it. I live in this world, anger is one of the appropriate response emotions considering the circumstances.  I have read in "Paths Through Grief" by Helen Jaeger that anger has a legitimate place in our grief and that it takes us to a place of honesty.  Honesty, surprisingly,  it is the springboard to acceptance.  She states, "Our cry against grief, the anger against it, shows that we bear in our souls the divine mark which ultimately longs for blessings and delight , that loss and grief are not the way life was intended to be.  Our cry against grief is actually a cry for well-being.  It is the cry of a healthy heart."  I am glad to hear that!

 "When I am angry, I do not let my wrath (my exasperation, my fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down." 
-Ephesians 4:26

1 comment:

Shelley said...

Elizabeth we have never officially met, but have crossed each others paths in and out of St. Timothy's often. My family has been members since 2000 & Kelly is a friend having taught two of my three sons. I wanted to let you know that I have been praying for you, and think of you often. The beauiful words of your blog have touched my heart deeply, and your strentgth and total honesty is such an inspiration! I have wanted to reply several times, but the right words were difficult not being able to even begin to understand the depth of your loss. I would like to say to you that I hope your blog is helping your heart heal. I know you questioned whether to do it, and I am so glad you have chosen to continue. I don't know if you have realized what a gift your words are to others. Every time you have written and I have had the privledge of reading your eloquent words of hope, you are giving me a very speical gift. This gift is a greater appreciation of my life, my family, and my GOD. Your FAITH is awesome! God Bless you and your family, and may you be lifted daily by the great love of those around you!