I always thought my mourning would be silent and dignified, or perhaps (miraculously) graceful, elegant, and with a hint of humour. This wasn’t to be. After my dad died, most days I woke up furious at the world, constantly on the verge of a temper tantrum. I wanted to scream and yell. I wanted to break things and I walked around feeling like an enraged zombie; electrified by my anger but also subdued by sadness.
To make things more complicated, anger wasn’t something I was familiar with; I rarely experienced it and when I did, it didn’t last long. I’m not suggesting I’m better for it, I can confirm with absolute certainty that I’m not. Prior to all of this, I’d never been comfortable with this feeling because I couldn’t channel it in a productive way. This has changed.
I began discussing all of this – my changing moods, my seemingly endless rage- with my cousin who has experienced loss and grief up close, both personally and professionally through her work as a bereavement specialist. She said I had every right to feel anger and it was something I should process. She encouraged me to punch pillows, to scream, to work it out, and because I respect and value her advice, I did. After that exercise, I still felt angry – the feelings didn’t magically disappear as I had hoped they would – but I also felt as if my energy had been refocused. I felt the need to do something, and that something was start this blog, which I hope will become a valuable resource in time. Through this site I want to increase awareness on cancer prevention and early detection. I want to create a space for people to improve their lives. I want to build a community of support. I want to share stories. I want to make lives better.
As I started writing and researching, I began finding other organizations with similar mandates, one of which was Fuck Cancer. This organization resonated with me for a number of reasons. Its co-founders are young, intelligent and fiery. They have a message to share and they work tirelessly to do so. They’re impassioned and they don’t mince words. Seriously, fuck cancer. Fuck. Cancer. More than anything, they’ve used their tragedies to do something meaningful. In an interview with Career Contessa, Julie Greenbaum said, “I held onto my mother’s words, “Life doesn’t owe you anything – you owe it to yourself to make your life the best that it can be.” I know she wouldn’t accept anything other than me being positive and moving forward” and the only thing I could think of when I read those words was, “dad said exactly the same thing”. It was his mantra repeated through another person’s voice.
While I still struggle with feelings of anger, I am now reminded that I can do something productive with that feeling, and what this experience has shown me, is how I can do it. I know things will change but right now, I’ve found a way to make anger work for me.