Finally Hitting the Angry Stage of Grief After 4 Years. Why Now?!

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This year’s Father’s Day also fell on the same day as Cameron’s date of death. It’s been 4 years without him.

The day before Father’s Day, 4 years ago, Cameron came over to my townhouse to receive the gifts we had for him: a nice shirt from Kohl’s, handmade cards, and a shrinkie-dink keychain from Maggie.

**A little back story: We were in the middle of a divorce, due to his addictions, but he still came over frequently (almost daily) for family dinner, to hang out, go on occasional dates, or to see the children. We loved each other madly but if you have ever dealt with someone with an addiction you can understand why the pending divorce…**

He entered our home, Maggie came running down the stairs to greet him, and the boys were watching tv. We visited for awhile and then he told us he had to leave.

As always, Cam gave a little pep talk to each of the boys before leaving. I didn’t hear what he said to Corbin but I’ll never forget his conversation with Maverick. He placed both of his arms on Maverick’s shoulders and looked him in the eyes and said “you be good to your mother. You listen to her, she’s the best thing you’ve got. Do good in school and do not turn out like me. Be a smart kid and study hard. I love you son”.

Off the boys went to play lacrosse outside, Maggie to play with toys, and it was just Cam and I alone.

He sat down on my steps and we had a very serious conversation about his health. I was concerned about him and I started to cry. He apologized for making me worry and he stood up to hug me. We stood there at the foot of my stairs holding one another as he was shaking and crying and squeezing me so tightly.

Over and over again he said how sorry he was for all that he had done to me and the kids and how he wished things were different. I told him to not give up hope and that things can always change. I let him know how much we loved him and pray for him daily. We told each other how much we loved each other and wished that this divorce wasn’t happening but Cam understood his poor choices led us to this separation.

We wiped away each others tears, I offered him a soda for the road, and we headed out to the garage. We talked about our upcoming plans for Father’s Day and how we wanted to make him his favorite meal and dessert. He walked towards his car, hugging Maggie one more time, and then he turned back one last time to look at me.

He looked at me as if it would be the last time, gave me his half smile, and he got in his car and drove away. I picked up Maggie and we waved to him and Maggie blew kisses.

That was the last time we ever saw him or spoke to him. His body was discovered by his roommate two days later.

Why? Why? Why?!!!!!!!

Why weren’t we able to save him? Why didn’t the treatment centers work? Why was I not enough? Why were the kids not enough? Why didn’t the medications fix him? Or did they make him worse? Why didn’t counseling help?

Why couldn’t he fight a little harder?!

Over the last four years I have accepted the reality of his death and worked through it but this year is different. I’m actually angry he died. This is an emotion on the grief charts that I have never had.

“Why would I be angry?” I would tell myself. “He is finally at peace and not battling any demons anymore!”.

Well, now I’ve changed my mind.

I’m angry.

Yes, after four years it has finally hit me that I am mad.

I cannot believe Cameron spun his life into such a way that he died and left a huge mess behind. He left children to mourn their father for the rest of their lives. The same three children he said he loved more than anything. It feels like everything he said was just lies. His addictions consumed him.

His death is undoable. It cannot be reversed. He is never coming back. And that angers me. He didn’t HAVE to die.

Recently, I reviewed his autopsy report for the hundredth time. This time I just wanted to scream. PERFECT health. Perfect body, perfect organs, perfect teeth, strong heart, perfectly trimmed hair and nails, absolutely nothing wrong with him.

He didn’t HAVE to die.

The only reason for his death were the things HE chose to ingest in excess.

Again, he didn’t HAVE to die!

He died because of his poor choices and addiction. I hate it.

He left me here to deal with his “baby girl” who now battles anxiety, sometimes daily, from the trauma of losing her daddy. During her anxious moments she will tell me “mom, I feel like I can’t breathe and that I’m dying”. Oh how I feel anger towards Cameron and want to scream to the heavens “you jerk! How could you do this!!” She was everything to him!

He left behind two boys who loved that man more than anything! He was our protector. He was our giant. He was the toughest, strongest man on the planet in our kids eyes. Nothing could hurt him.

How could he have done this?!

Yes, I realize substance abuse makes people not who they really are but when you are grieving and you hit anger, you just don’t care. Rational thinking is gone for now. Why did he do this?!

Having a delay of emotions on the grief chart can be normal from what I’ve read and that is reassuring. Emotions don’t always happen in the proper order of: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

No matter what stage we are on in this cycle, it’s difficult. Saying goodbye to a loved one is hard and the finality of it all hurts for a long time.

I know that these feelings will pass soon and I’ll be back to having full acceptance and love but for now, I’m angry.

And that’s okay.

Have you grieved in the traditional order of the Grief Cycle?

11 Replies to “Finally Hitting the Angry Stage of Grief After 4 Years. Why Now?!”

  1. I definitely don’t follow the standard pattern, either.
    I could feel your pain through this post. It really is tragic. I’m sorry for your kids and you. I hope you all find peace soon enough.


  2. I can feel the pain, anger and anguish in your words. Very profound and very heartbreaking.

    I can tell you from experience that when I struggled it seemed so incredibly overwhelming. I loved my family deeply, yet I still felt like a failure. I felt as if they would be better off without me. Facing my wife and my children was incredibly difficult, I just wanted the pain to go away so I could simply relax and enjoy life as it seemed that so many around me did with such ease. Everyday seemed like an eternity and it seemed as if everyday I was creeping closer and closer to ultimate failure.

    I was completely overwhelmed and did not know how to get out of the hole that I was falling into. I would come home from work, exhausted, mentally and physically. I didn’t want to talk or socialize, not because I didn’t love, care or want to spend time with my family, but because I couldn’t turn off my brain. I would sit for hours watching television, while my wife played with the children. I just couldn’t relax, all I wanted was my brain to go to mush, so I could finally relax. I would become angry with my wife when she would invite me to play along with her and the kids, simply because I was utterly and completely broken.

    On day, a friend asked me a very direct and personal question, I answered it honestly. What he said next, had a deep impact on me and from time to time I recall what he had said. He asked about my children and how my daughter would feel walking down the isle, alone, without me. That broke me on the spot. To compound it, I was told the cycle that children go through once they loose a parent, and not only how devastating it can be. But also that children carry the guilt for the rest of their lives. Always wondering if they were somewhat responsible, if they hadn’t cried as much or if they just listened a little better. I couldn’t do that to my children, I had to man up and do whatever I had to do to make sure they wouldn’t wonder themselves.

    I have a strong wife, I never really talked with her about my job, the things I had done or the thoughts I had. I’m sure she knew, in my line of work, an imaginative spouse can put two and two together. She was my rock, I never told her, but she stood by me. We fought, but we are still here together.

    Today, I know that I must be there for my family, I do not want them to be unprotected and vulnerable.

    I felt your words reading this, and regarding the whole grief pattern, I still struggle with it today, after all of the friends I have lost. I still struggle with my own shame and grief, for what I put my family through.


    1. Your comments are EXACTLY what life with my husband was like. He felt horrible all the time for his choices and could never forgive himself so he withdrew himself often. I would constantly and always be considered “the nagging wife” because I would literally have to DRAG him out with us and he only seemed “happy” when he was plopped in front of the TV.
      Little did he realize that we wanted nothing more than to just have him be WITH us. Even if we were divorced, I still wanted him here!
      The hell that my kids have endured since his death is unimaginable. The mo

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Sorry my phone cut off…
      Since the moment I had to do the unthinkable and tell the children their father was dead I have been through hell. The mental and emotional issues are so sad and heartbreaking that I can quite literally feel Cameron’s sorrow from the other side. My daughter crying so hard countless times, unable to breathe, because of the heartache is something that as a mother when it happens I feel like I can’t even go on. When my teenage son sobs because he misses the ONLY man on the planet that he wants to hear “I love you son” from.
      It makes you seriously want to lay in bed all day and not function as a parent. The grief sucks the life out of you and hurts so badly.
      I pray that you will overcome whatever it is that you have struggled with and know you are needed here. Your wife NEEDS you. Your kids NEED you.
      Yes, my kids have a wonderful stepdad but NO ONE can replace their dad. No one.
      Trust me, no one can replace you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re story touched me deeply last night. Thank you for being strong enough to share. It took me awhile to realize how flawed all of this is. You’re right children need their father like they need their mother. Recovery is a lifelong job, I couldn’t believe that I was so self involved that I couldn’t stop thinking about my own pain. I cannot imagine the pain I caused my own family, I thought I was protecting them, when in fact I was hurting them more than myself.

        I hope that you and your children will come to terms with this tragedy. Be honest, that’s the only way that you can hope for resolution for you and your children. The more they know and understand the better they will process.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Although my grief cycle was related to divorce, I kept revisiting the grief cycle for quite a few years. It frustrated me because I felt like I needed to be over it already. I still mourn the losses that came with divorce – career change, financial hardships, children being 4 hours away. I wrote a post very similar to this sometime last year. I can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how wonderful!! I guess there is hope then that you don’t HAVE to have all of the emotions. For some reason I just wasn’t angry at Cameron and then one day it just appeared.
      I am so glad you don’t have those feelings, especially towards your mother❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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