Friday, September 10, 2010


I notice that a lot of my comments on others' blogs sound... very angry. I did not used to be an angry person. These days, I am quite angry, and angry that I am now an angry person on top of that. So angry that life took the pretty decently happy, silly, peaceful, non-angry person I was and shoved me through the anger-maker, like a giant angry-sausage making machine. No one needed more anger in the world. I was a pretty good "force of love" before, even if useful only to myself. I ain't no "force of love" these days, and knowing that makes me feel even farther away from who I was when he was here, from our life. And it makes me feel even more crazy. This is not my world, this was not my world, what freaking planet IS this? Eh. I think I need to find something that makes me feel even a little bit like myself.

My time at the farm ended yesterday. I had been volunteering at a very dysfunctional farm, off and on, since March or so. A place where no social skills were required, which was good, because I have none. A place where the entire place is in constant, massive disarray, so there is always something to do. Since the anniversary, my interest in slogging out there has seriously waned. But I kept going. I was out there yesterday, picking tomatoes, pulling carrots, and just thought - oh, this is my last time out here. It wasn't a "thinking about whether I am done here or not" thought, it was a decision made for me, somewhere in me. And though the place is a constant vexation, I started feeling very sad to leave it, to say goodbye to all of it. I felt like I was saying goodbye to life, to ONE MORE THING that has to go. Which is silly, because this place was not part of our life before, I only found it After. But I think it is just the leave-taking, triggering off the Real Things. Time is moving along, and that is just sad. So many things that would have been easily let go of, with not even a thought, are suddenly massively precious.

Anyway, I am heading off to a dairy farm today to see if they need fall and winter help with their creatures. Working with animals was what I'd wanted from the start. For a brief time last winter, I worked on an alpaca farm, weighing babies, giving shots, holding animals down, breathing with them while they had little minor surgeries done. I felt like Me: sit here and breathe with this creature, and then go muck out that stall. Awesome. But the farm owners had just hired a young man to manage all the regular daily chores, and in deep winter, there wasn't much for me to do. Plus, I find alpaca a bit odd.

I think it's just that difference between non-human animals and plants - I often spent whole hours being pissy while weeding or trimming or planting. Then I would realize how pissy I was being, and choose to do something else, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But animals require just that little bit more conscious attention, and I often notice this new angry person has been much quieter during that time I've been tending critters. I snap back into myself, without even noticing it. I only notice it after-the-fact, like - hey, I remember you. I am so sad, for me, for the me I used to be. Shit. I hadn't been crying, now I am. I need to make myself a list, as Dan did. Though I think I will call it "things that don't suck," because the angry person needs just that little bit of edge.


  1. Funny, I was just rereading a book that mentions Gratitude Lists. I was considering the idea; I know it would be helpful, but I just keep going back to Gratitude? You Want Me To Be Grateful? For What, Now?

    but of course there is still plenty of beauty and wonder in the world, it is just harder to see under all these dark clouds. There's a lesson in here somewhere - I remember my first long airplane flight, as a teenager. I was shown irrefutably that while it rains down on a town and the people there are walking around in the murk, shoulders hunched, head down, getting wet, the sun is still shining just as brightly above those clouds. A lot to think about for an angry 17-year-old who didn't want to be going home.
    I am thinking and praying, as well as I am able, for two good friends I did not know a year ago who are held dearly in my heart now.

  2. Oh, I hear you on the anger. I just sent you a note on FB before coming here to read this. Now I understand about the farm and the animals. I agree about the difference between plants and animals. I did manage to work with plants my first winter in AZ, but I was also going out for very long walks with my older dog -- the younger dog wasn't with us at that point. Time with Sabrina always seemed sort of calm. I think she was grieving too, so we had many long walks and sat around together along the San Pedro River. Last autumn's trip was actually even angrier than the first year - I departed just after the first anniversary of Don's death. My anger was almost uncontrollable at that point. I can't say I was very nice to my young dog at times. She was so badly behaved, but I did not have the same level of patience I used to have in "the old days". A few times I ended up screaming at her when she would bark incessantly and try to take advantage of her youth and agility to become aggressive with Sabrina. At the times when I suddenly caught myself blowing my stack I realized that I was not my usual calm, patient self. It was a pretty terrible discovery.
    Something I should have mentioned in the FB message is that, travel is okay if you are good at doing it. If you're not, it can be sort of scary, frustrating, upsetting, and so on at times. For me, it was almost always good, but a friend just visited - she's going through some hard times -- and she mentioned how stressful it is to travel alone - the many times taking wrong turns, not being able to find a place to camp, etc.. I went through all of that last year, but these were challenges at a time when I had so much fury to work off, that I think the effort of traveling helped to siphon off some of that crazy energy.
    Not sure any of this is helpful, but I get where you're coming from.

  3. I'm accustomed to traveling alone. Though, in the last five years, I haven't done much of it, at least for longer trips. But the idea of going through some of the places matt and I have been together, and finding those places that were on his list (salmon river and the dakotas, specifically) sounds appealing. We'd only done short day hikes with the dog, but I think he'd be just fine off somewhere with me. In the spring maybe. I was not ready for summer, so I am glad it is getting cooler here now. And I think I need some animal-tending time, too. I "sold myself" so much last fall, trying to find a place. Apparently, I am still tenacious, if nothing else. Where I was was perfect for me, but I am needing something different now.

  4. I understand what you are saying about working with animals. For me, substitute working with "animals" for working with "small children" and I am calmer. Much much calmer. They do require more of your attention so the anger slips to the background fora while.

  5. I don't know if I'm the critter tending type, but I am certainly an angry type. I have a good way of shielding my anger in public. People at work used to say "Dan is always so calm. He never gets angry." I used to tell them to follow me home, and observe as I kick the dog, cat, two boys and a teenage girl.

    This week I really got into it, a verbal exchange, with my oldest son. While I can always rationalize what I am angry about, I know that deep inside I am still angry at this damn world that allows for such good people to die early.

    While reading this post I thought of an idea. Maybe one day soon I will provide space for everyone to just let loose. 'Give us your best shot' type of place to say all the angry things you want to say. It would be great if we could phone in our angry voices, and have all these angry sound bites to listen to. Of course cursing would be mandatory.

    Love you.


  6. good thing cursing would be mandatory. I am a downright sailor these days, letting loose startlingly aggressive invectives to anyone so much as breathing the wrong way (in my head, or with the car windows firmly rolled up anyway).

  7. it has helped me to record what I have to be grateful for, what has helped me, as well as what has not helped (or perhaps sent me spiralling backwards) ... sending you light and love x

  8. Anger is perfectly normal when one is grieving. I've been angry for years grieving whole host of effed up situations. (for example-you do know I can't have children and have been through the medical wringer- ultimately losing 11+ babies- I lost count now.) I know grief. The problem is that most people don't want to hear or don't know how to respond to deep, soul filled grief. Or they just think the grieving person (after their who knows who determined the allotted amount of time) is kooky, for lack of a better word. The best and hardest part is finding people that let you be angry without judging you and who will let you find your way back to some sort of normalcy without the A$$vice.- lisa