One of the emotions I haven’t really felt since Christofer’s death is anger. I have had bouts of it. Short-lived and generally tempered with reason. I don’t like angry. Anger is too close to rash. It makes us say and do things we don’t mean. Or wish we didn’t mean. A lot of truth comes out in those angry bursts we would never spout without unfettered rage. For some, it’s cleansing. For me, for whatever reason, it isn’t. It makes me feel small and mean and, for want of a better word, dumb. No one listens to angry ranting, even if the spewing holds some truth. If you want to be heard, be funny. (An angry comic is always the best teacher, IMO.) If you can’t be funny, be sincere in a gentler way. Your truth will be heard and listened to, and never get brushed off with, “That was the anger talking.”
I live by this. I always have. But it appears I am angrier than I suspect. I keep it in. I don’t admit to it. I don’t give it voice. And thus I dream. Angry, angry dreams that I don’t even acknowledge. And then, last night, Chris was angry for me.
He was here, but only had a day, and he was so angry. He didn’t want to see his friends. He didn’t want to do any of the things he used to love. There were people here, largely ignoring him even when I cried, “But he’s only here for a day and then he’ll be gone again. Don’t you understand?” But no one did. No one cared. Just before I woke for the last time–because I kept waking, going back to sleep and picking up the dream again–he was asking the Dean of WestConn if he could wear a particular orange, sparkly leisure suit for his school picture. He was refused. I pleaded, “Don’t you understand? He’ll be dead again in just a few hours. What does it matter if he wears an orange sparkly leisure suit?”
Gads. I guess you don’t have to be a genius to read that dream accurately. So yes, I am angry, and I guess it’s time to admit it out loud. Ready?
I’m angry that he was so alone in the end.* I’m angry we didn’t comprehend just how bad the depression was. I’m angry that a young man I thought loved us all like family would give Chris the means to destroy us all. I’m angry he didn’t speak up, warn us. I’m angry that, after all Chris had been through, after all the pain and fighting and frustration, he didn’t make it. I’m angry that I wasn’t able to save him. I’m angry that love wasn’t enough. I’m angry that all the good he did for others, all the time and effort he gave out hoping to get even a little of the same back, never materialized. I’m angry that he was forgotten, swept aside like something not worth dealing with. I’m angry that he always felt like he didn’t belong. I’m angry that no matter what persona he adopted, it wasn’t the right fit. I’m angry that he didn’t have it better, that his whole being was destroyed at the age of fifteen, that during those long months recovering, he sat here alone. Friendless. Mourning the death of who he had been, all he’d planned on being. I’m angry with him, for not speaking up. For making that choice. For not being here. That I’m not Turtle anymore. I’m angry because I’m sad. All. The. Time. Even the joys are tempered with grief, and always will be from now on. I’m angry because I have to stay strong even when I want to crumble, because if I crumble, everyone does.
I’m angry. So, so angry. Because I already had more than my fair share of grief in this life. And now this has happened. This is my reality. There is no changing it. I’m angry because the words, “Why me? Again!” come to mind too often, and it makes me feel like a whiner.
Well…do I feel better? In a way, I guess. Reading back over all that, I see the truth in my anger, and I see the other side of every coin I tossed up. Because there is one in every case. I’m stronger than my anger. Way stronger. I’m smarter than it too. But we all have that primitive brain that needs to throw rocks once in a while. Mine just got its chance. Maybe next time I dream of Chris, he won’t feel the need to be angry for me.
*There was one young man who was here almost daily, right up until the end. He knows who he is. So if you’re reading this, or your mom or sister are, know I haven’t forgotten.