Flashes of anger

We were getting ready to leave. I don’t remember where to.

I went into my bedroom. I don’t remember what for.

I looked out my window and I remembered.

We had had sausage for dinner that night. I had cut his in half but it still looked too wide so I cut it in half again.

And the anger poured forth.

I cut his hot dogs. I cut his grapes. I was constantly after the kids to close the bathroom door and I checked and double checked their bath to make sure it was drained. I don’t like pacifiers, but when I read that some study had connected them to lower SIDS rates, I bought him one.

I screamed inside with every thought.

Once, I read about a couple who left their baby in an idling car to keep warm while they shoveled the drive and he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. So we never left the children in an idling car. When we bought this house, the spaces between the railing on the stairs seemed large and when we measured, we discovered his head would fit through so we replaced it. When we bought our wood stove, we thought all the guards at the store were a little flimsy so we bought railing you would normally put on your deck and bolted it to the floor.

And still the anger grew.

John even measured Mattias’ arm to make sure he couldn’t reach through and burn himself. Bouncy balls made me nervous, but somehow for every one I “misplaced” there was another party, another festival, another event where they were passed out.

I began shaking as it took over.

When John left for work, I made sure I knew where Mattias was. Whether we went out or stayed in to say goodbye, I kept a hand on him. When he learned to crawl out of the playpen he slept in, I pushed it next to his brother’s bed so he wouldn’t fall on the hardwood floor.

And then one night, I decided to let him watch a movie with his siblings downstairs because I was worried about the smoke from the stove--worried about our children breathing in the smokeand now . . .

“Dana,” my husband called. “We need to go.”

And I was pulled back out of that place. That angry place. A place I do not wish to return to, for anger is a strange monster. Once you give it vent, it takes hold and takes over. Grief brings tears and tears bring their own release. They leave me exhausted, but I always feel better in the morning. Anger feeds itself and grows. But since then I’ve only seen it in flashes.

When I read with relief that Congresswoman Giffords had made it out of surgery . . . the same surgery Mattias didn’t survive. . . and was responsive.

When I read of a lady whose child drowned while she was playing on Facebook . . . because I never left him alone in the bath.

When I made sausage for dinner . . . and didn’t have any reason to cut it.

But it passes quickly on the heels of a deep breath and half of a prayer.

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45 Responses

  1. Yes, you did have a reason to cut the sausage. You had a reason for doing all of those safety things. Because you LOVE your boy…you did everything you possibly could to keep him safe from harm. You did such a good job with him, Dana, truly. He knows how much you love him and what a great mom you are.
    Thank you for sharing what you are discovering about anger. I love the point you made about how it is unproductive….because it leads to more and more anger. Thank you for sharing what works for you….a deep breath and a word of prayer.
    Shanda recently posted…kitchen corners a grown-up show and tellMy Profile

  2. You were the best Mommy for him and you did everything right to keep him safe.
    His life was predetermined, before he was given to you and your specially loving family. You made sure his little life was full with love and laughter and family and wonder, through your choices.
    Already through you, he has reached out to so many hearts and minds around the world.
    People are holding their kids closer and are praying for them and for you.
    I look at my children, I smile, with tears in my eyes for you, and I pray… something I haven’t done in years.

    One breath at a time, one day at a time…
    Thank you for sharing your loss and your thoughts with us.

  3. Here…here Madie – well said.

    And Dana, you are amazing writer, momma, and person. I read every word -and am touched – by your blog and fb postings. You seem to live with grace, peace and hope. A lovingly powerful combination we could all strive to attain.

  4. Your way with words and your wisdom astounds me every time I see that you have posted something new. Amazed at your strength at a time when I’m sure if I were in your place I wouldn’t even be able to put a complete sentence together. They are right through your pain and even the anger others are being inspired to love their children at every turn, be more patient and more careful. I am SO very sorry for this journey you are on – praying for you every chance I get

    Sioux

  5. Anger is a normal part of grief. It is good that you don’t let it consume you, but it is just a part of the whole picture. You did everything a good Momma should. God numbers our days even before we are born. You will see your dear Mattias again. He will be waiting for you. We are all with you in love and prayer.
    Phyllis recently posted…Base Six MathMy Profile

  6. Yes, but we can only do what we know, and these freak accidents are beyond any of us. Good job on the half-prayer, keep it up. There are people all over the country, if not farther out, who are covering the other half for you.

    Inhale . . . exhale . . .

  7. I remember feeling angry when I lost my babies to miscarriage. I had worked so hard to eat well, live right…and they died. When we lost our 3rd child to miscarriage, I heard the Lord remind me of Job’s response, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” This after he lost all his children. It was hard for me to even accept that verse from the Lord. It was such agony to lose my babies. But … it was true. God has his own very mysterious ways but I always need to bless him. They were ours for a few weeks, and we will know them forever in eternity. Our living children still talk about those babies sometimes…and look forward to seeing them when they enter Eternity.

    I know that as hard as my experience was, it was nothing like losing Mattias. I am in awe at how you are able to, as another person wrote, put words together at this point. He lived a very happy, joyful life. He lived life to the fullest. He changed lives. You were a fantatsic mother to him, a very very careful mom. I don’t know why God allowed the accident to happen. I know that you will mourn until you are reunited with him in Heaven. I hope and pray that the pain will diminish in time but for now, I hope you’ll feel God’s strength to grieve your loss.

    Thank you for your blog– you are an amazing person with an amazing family.

  8. Sweet Dana, you have the right to any and every feeling you have. Don’t deny them, and relish them, because it is one step closer to healing. I say this after it has been 3 years since Samuel has been gone. And still, I will ALWAYS say things like, “We have 9 children at home…” Well Samuel is not literally “at home,” but to me, it is a way of keeping him a part of the family and ALWAYS making sure that he is counted in every way. When, or if, someone gets to know me, I will explain then, but otherwise, “I have my 9 children at home.”

    Some days, yes, even 3 years later, I see my granddaughter & grandson (our 2 oldest daughters & I were pregnant all together and all due within a few weeks of each other), and all that THEY are doing now, their wonderful personalities, their excitement over lawn mower rides with Papa, etc.), I cannot help but also feel sad because Samuel would also be enjoying those things now. But I have found out that it is okay, that I am going to feel those feelings, and that I have to do allow those feelings, at that time, or I cannot function as a mother to my other children without either scaring them, worrying them, or them thinking I am mad at them when I am not. I have started to just say, “Mommy is just really missing Samuel right now, but I will be okay, and one day, we will all be together in Heaven.” They have gotten used to hearing this now, and have become very intuititve and compassionate when they see me struggling with this at the moment. Everyone tells me “time heals all wounds.” BUT, I will never, ever forget my son. I will NEVER, ever stop loving him, and longing to hold him and kiss him, just one more time. But one day, I WILL see him and hold him in Heaven. The Lord reminds me of this daily, so that I can go on. I still look at his pictures, still smell his blanket as it still ever-so-lightly has “his” smell. Does that sound odd? But, I have taken a couple of his things and put them in a ziplock baggie and keep them because they were his, and it is what I have to hold on to.

    Please know, that I am here for you. I did not have Samuel as long as you had Mattias in your life (Samuel had Trisomy 18 which made his heart stop beating one day for no apparent reason), but remember, God tells us, “There is a time to mourn, a time to laugh, a time to live, and a time to die…a time for every season under the Heavens.” Give yourself these seasons…and hang on to your memories and love for Mattias. And one day, GOD WILL bring you back together, and Mattias will no any longer be hurt, or sad, or…but will run to his Mama with arms open wide, full of laughter and giggles, and we will ALL be together again.

    Love,
    Kelly

  9. Dana,

    I, too, lost a child. Michelle was 5 y.o. when she passed away. She had a severe heart condition so I knew that the possibility of losing her was great.

    I had years to do anticipatory grieving. I long pondered her loss because that’s just what you do when you child is born with a severe congenital heart defect. However, I was not prepared for the depth of pain I would feel after she was gone.

    After the numbness wore off, anger was a HUGE part of my grieving. I had no one to be angry with and no one to blame. The anger was between me and our Creator so I dealt with it at that level. My prayer life grew tremendously as did my relationship with God. Grief is Holy Ground and you are glorifying the Lord in your grief. My prayer for you is that you can continue on that path. I know it won’t be easy. Give it to Him and rest in Him. May He hold you and your family in the palm of His hand…
    Amy recently posted…This is quite an honorMy Profile

  10. It wasn’t that you let him watch the movie that evening…..it was just his appointed time to meet his Father in Heaven. God will use your story for many divine purposes, but I think the main purpose is so that God is revealed through your heart and life. I really believe that. You express your grief so honestly, so beautifully. As raw as the pain is right now, I still see Jesus in the words.

    I am hurting for you and praying for you! I am so sorry!
    Christine recently posted…He said Yes!My Profile

  11. I’m still praying for you daily, and can’t imagine what you’re going through. My little blonde boy is 26 months old, and I think of you and Tiggy nearly every time I look at him lately. You have such a marvelous writing style and are able to express yourself so brilliantly that I cry at each of your posts. Keep it up, you are blessing me and many others and I hope healing a little through your blog.
    Brieana recently posted…Large Family Logistics GiveawayMy Profile

  12. I have followed your blog for a few weeks now and I pray for you and your family every day! Your story touches a very personal heartstring for me, as I have lived a very SMALL part of your horror. In 2007, my then 8 year old son fell off of our swingset and suffered a minor traumatic head injury. For my son, his story had a much different ending, as he is now a thriving 11 year old. Besides a change in his personality and some possible behavior issues that may stem from that injury, he suffered little to no long term effects from his accident. He remembers very little about that day, but I very often replay the horror and can not erase those vivid images from my mind. While I sat at my son’s bedside in the hospital that night, something horrific was happening in my home, where I too did everything in my power to make sure my children were safe. I was just like you…I cut all the hot dogs, I cut the grapes, I didn’t allow my children outside to play unless I was outside with them, I didn’t allow them with people I didn’t know, etc. etc. and inside my own safe place I created…my children were being harmed by the man I trusted the most, my husband. While now is not the time or place to talk about my story, I will say that even though my son recovered from his head injury…our lives took a dramatic turn that night.

    You are an amazing mother who did/does everything possible to protect your children. In all bad things that happen, we find ways to put blame on ourselves and realize how we would have done things differently…it’s a natural response to feel that way! There are also, many stages of grief and it’s amazing to follow you through your “healing”. I’m sending you a “blog award”…visit my blog (www.lifewithmyflock.blogspot.com) to see it!

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

  13. Your baby is not gone because you let him go watch a movie or because you did not protect him. I believe that God took him and we cannot understand why. But I know your faith will help you to go through the anger and find peace. This stranger is praying for you.

  14. Anger is not bad in or of itself. What you do with it is where the trap of evil can come from. You seem to have perspective that allows it to stay in the healthy realm.

    It has only been the briefest moment since your loss, and your heart must be hurting so much. I pray a blessing on you and your family, knowing that there will always be a hole in your hearts that only God can repair when you are joined in heaven with your savior. But until then the God of all comfort will ease the sharp edges and create a beautiful tapestry of faith, hope and love all around the hole so that you can continue to go forward glorifying Him!
    Susan Beth recently posted…SPECIAL GIFTSMy Profile

  15. God has given you an amazing gift for sharing your sorrow in your writing. Your experiences, and your trials are a tremendous blessing to people you don’t even know, because you are writing the down here.
    Thank you for sharing your deep sad days here. It is not wasted.
    It is too great a price to pay, to loose your sweet son. I don’t understand that part of it.
    But I do know that you are touching many many people because you are open and honest and God is working in you in a way that is very visible to many of us.
    Thank you.
    missy recently posted…Sanctity of Life DayMy Profile

  16. I have been following your blog since about a week after the accident. Today I completely related to your post. I too try very hard and diligently to make sure the environment around my five kids is safe. Just this summer, my 2 year old ran ahead of the pack and before I could even get his name out of my mouth, he ran into the middle of a street. Praise the Lord, no cars were coming, but the feeling I felt at that moment was of utter panic. I went home and cried because just like that, in an instant, things can change.

    I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. Nor do I know the “right” thing to say. I think about your family and pray for you often.

    All I know is that God is sovereign. He is still on the throne. He promises that all things will work for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

    I will continue to pray.

  17. Thank you, everyone. Mother Goose, that must have been a nightmare for you. I am so sorry you had to go through that and hope and pray you are finding healing together with your children.

    Amy, Kelly, Laraba, Q (and all who have lost a child who have take the time to stop by and comment) ~ I am so sorry you are on this path as well. But thank you so much for taking the time to stop and share your experiences with me. It is so hard and it hurts so much. It is encouraging to me to have people who have walked the path before me who can turn back and be a light for me.
    Dana recently posted…Flashes of angerMy Profile

  18. Still crying for you and your family’s loss. And anger is part of all of us, but you are right, you musn’t let it get the best of you. The Heavenly Father has him where he wants him. Christ has his arm around him, and he is happy. You know it’s not easy , but we all do have our time to return to the good Lord and the Lord seen fit to take him now. We don’t understand and that doesn’t ease our grief much, but he wanted him then. I could not handle this situation so well like you. You are Amazing. Elohim needed another Angel, and your boy was chosen. He is smiling down at you and maybe he is your Guardian Angel now. We love you, God Bless

  19. I heard about your family on Twitter right after the accident & I’ve been following your blog ever since. I truly can’t imagine the pain you & your family must be going through. God certainly didn’t want your boy to die, but I believe that He can find some good in the middle of this horrible situation. I have a feeling that this blog may be part of God’s “good plan.” You have no idea who you are going to touch with your words. My prayer for you is that God will wrap his arms of comfort around you that your blog can bless others who are also struggling with loss.

    PS. I find your strength & the way that you help your children grieve truly amazing.

  20. Dana, about that half a prayer and the other people who are covering your half- have you read ‘Jesus is Calling’? Sometimes, when there are no words and the anger takes over, you wonder what God is thinking… I can’t imagine the anger you feel. But again, we’re all covering your other half and the days when you can’t find even that half, the whole is right here. Praying for you always…

  21. 1. You are NOT to blame.

    2. It is okay to be angry if that is where you are at in the moment. That is part of the grieving process. Allow yourself to experience the feelings as they arise, neither dwelling on them or pushing them away.

    3. There is no correct way to grieve. There are stages but they don’t come in order….it is a day to day process. Sometimes you go through one stage a day, week, month…other times you go through all of them an hour.

    4. God loves you even when you are angry. He gave you a heart to love your child. He understands how ripped apart you feel.
    Sara recently posted…Baby LoveMy Profile

  22. God bless you and help you through this dark and angry time in your grieving. The ‘what ifs’ go round in my head on many occasions but you must go on and I hope you can, one day at a time.

    No words can express my sympathy for you and no one can truly understand the pain unless you go through it. The memories will be there to cherish until you see him again and he is still with you I trully believe.
    Paulineh recently posted…What is Reiki and How Does it WorkMy Profile

  23. I had the same feelings when just the week before I took Christian to the dentist. No cavities and he was so excited about getting a new toothbrush and floss picks. We were diligent with car seats and even life jackets… That is why these are accidents– “an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally”.

    When my mind starts going down that road of anger or bitterness or blame, I pray and ask God to help me turn my thoughts… it really is the only way to have peace. No good comes from going down that other road. I am SO glad that you see that Dana!

    Continuing to pray for you, my friend.

    Love,
    Marsha

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” -Philippians 4:8-9
    MarshaMarshaMarsha recently posted…dream within a dreamMy Profile

  24. I just wanted you to know how often I think of you, your family, and your son. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  25. I’m glad you can release some of your grief through anger. You are such a good mother not to let your other kids see it.But anger if ignored turns inward. Of course you feel angry. When a friend of mine died I felt angry she was dead when she was such a good mother. Meanwhile the mother of a child I had fostered, who had had her child remolved from her home was having another baby.The world just seemed so unfair and upside down and I hadn’t suffered a loss like your.

  26. Dana, you don’t know me but I came accross your blog through twitter when Tiggy passed away and have been reading it ever since. My heart aches for you and I have cried SO many tears for your loss. As a mother, I simply cannot imagine the agony you have experienced through this. I pray for you and will continue to do so. That is all I know to do as there are no words.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.
    Kristen
    Kristen recently posted…A yummy Valentine dessert!My Profile

  27. Dana, thank you for your willingness to openly share your heart. Honestly, it’s such a privilege to be allowed to read your achingly beautiful words, and a true honor to lift up your family in prayer.

    You are such a great mother–so dedicated and loving. Your sweet Mattias’ Homegoing was no one’s fault, least of all his wonderful Mama, who was clearly so careful and diligent.

    Your anger is completely understandable. Not that any of my losses have come even REMOTELY close to what you have had to endure, dear one, but I do remember the anger. I remember how, as you described, it would rush forth most often when I was confronted with the injustices of this world. I wasn’t expecting it, and it wasn’t welcome, but there it was none the less. Why, I wondered, had our 4 precious babies been called home to Heaven before birth, while the rising abortion and teen pregnancy rates were all over the news? Why get our hopes up, with 2 possible infant adoptions, only to have the birthmothers change their minds? Why then give us a burden for older child adoption, and allow us to bring two wonderful kiddos into our home and hearts, only to have them returned (with a mere 2 days notice) to their birthmother after she finished her prison sentence for attempted murder of the children’s birthfather (which she attempted in front of the children! and made a “souvenier” videotape of, no less!)? And finally why, when our hearts had eventually healed enough to again step out in faith, was our precious newborn son taken from us (with less than 2 hours notice) when his birthmother changed her mind a few days after we brought him home from the hospital? I can still remember the neighbors stopping by to bring baby gifts as the lawyer was on her way to come take our son!…but again, all of my painful losses combined do not come anywhere even remotely close to what your family has had to endure!…I only share them to say that I think your anger is totally and completely understandable, and it’s actually an important part of grieving. Your faith, wisdom, and strength shine through in that you aren’t allowing the anger to become bitterness (something, I’m ashamed to admit, that I did allow to fester for a time, but which the Lord in His mercy was faithful to deliver me from). Dana, your determination to not allow the anger to take over shows such a strength of character, and is such a testament to God’s abiding hand in your life! You continue to be in my prayers, friend.

  28. Love all around you, arms reaching in to hold you and your family up, each one grieving at their own pace.

    Love all around you, hoping beyond hope they never experience what you’ve gone through, yet, knowing if you can be this wonderful, and full of grace … maybe they can, too.

    Love all around you, Godly people, helpless, not knowing how to reach in, yet, prayers answered with every new day, every new sunrise, every hug, every smile, and God’s numbered and bottled tears.

    Thank you for being vulnerable and transparent here … no one expects you to be a hero in your grief … but you are a HERO to many as you put into words the pains, joys, and struggles on your journey to healing.

    God’s peace, grace and mercy as you heal!

  29. Prayers for you Dana. I hope that the anger is becoming less and less….
    You and I parent a lot alike, methinks. It is still all worth it. And yet, I know that you are learning to see what is important and what is not so important.
    May YHVH bless and keep you and give you his Shalom and his Words as you walk in this, my friend.

    (((HUGS)))

  30. I have read the post about the night when the accident happened. I hope you realize that at this night the devil was going after you and your family in all kinds of ways. It was a night when something had to happen unfortunately and it was not in your power to do anything about it. Read Hiob and you’ll know what I mean.

    I have lost my brother in a car accident when he was only 5 ys old and on that day a lot of concidences led to the accident. My grandmother sensed that something was going to happen on that day. She was wondering whether to call my mother but than did not because she thought my mom would think she was overreacting.

    However, nobody knew what exactly was going to happen. The loss of a child is the worst of all tragedies and nobody involved will ever forget it.

    Romans 8,16-18

    “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

    1Pet 4,12-13

    “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. “

  31. I want to add that as soon as you allow people to be in your life, whether through birth, marriage, friendship etc. you become vulnerable. Where relationships are there is suffering also. Those 2 go together on this fallen planet. The only escape is to avoid everyone and to isolate yourself completely. But then you will miss out on all the love and all the memories and on personal growth.

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