...is the anger. I'm so angry. At myself. At everyone.
My fiance, Philip, died on 2/10/15 from terminal colon cancer. We only found he was sick on 12/20/14. He was sick and dying for six weeks...well that we knew about. I'm 31 and he was 35. We weren't prepared and I certainly was not prepared for the speed at which things happened. We had been together for seven years and only just gotten engaged. Overnight we went from planning our October 2015 wedding to learning about hospice, disability, life insurance, FMLA. We weren't prepared. I wasn't prepared. We didn't have enough time. During those six weeks, I talked about "good days" and how we could have months, even years. I pleaded for "good days" where he felt well enough to be up and about. After he died, I went through his phone looking for numbers of people to notify. I found texts where he told people he knew he didn't have much time, how much pain he was in...but he always tried to have the best possible days for me. It breaks my heart. I wish I had been more prepared to be a caregiver, I wish I had understood how sick he was, and how much he hurt. I would have never fought for good days if I'd had a clue. I would have just tried to keep him comfortable and happy.
We had a few fights those last few weeks. I was and am so angry about the way his family handled and responded to his illness. They didn't step up. He told me to stop being so angry, that it hurt him. I tried, but I never felt like they gave him the respect he deserved. I never felt like they treated him like a brother or a son. He made peace with them, but I did not. I'm still angry at them. Anytime his mother texts me it is like we are in a grief competition. Who is hurting more? Who lost more? I hate that. We should be supporting one another. Because I wasn't his wife and only his fiance, I couldn't even legally make arrangements with the funeral home. His brother had to. Philip wanted to be cremated; but his brother didn't even buy an urn. He wanted me to pick up the ashes in a black, plastic box. I was and am horrified. I had to pick one out myself. His mother, at the memorial service, said "I know you won't mind, but I want some of the ashes to wear in a necklace." I do mind because I'm not separating them and Philip would have hated that. He would have been mad at her for even asking. She even said to me before he passed, "I wish you two had had children. But when you do have a child, I'll be the third grandmother." As if I could imagine having a child at all, let alone with someone else, while her son was two rooms away dying of cancer. I'm so freaking angry at her. I understand that they are suffering a loss too and I get that. I get that people say inappropriate things at inappropriate times, but some of this is unforgivable. I feel like they didn't even know their son/brother. They'll say things like "it's what Phil would have wanted." I want to scream at them, "you didn't even know him." They never once came to visit us when he was alive and healthy.
I'm angry at some of my friends though they have been nothing but supportive. One friend said to me yesterday, "I'm in a slump. All I do is work, eat, exercise. I have nothing to look forward too." I wanted to scream at her, "Are you kidding, me?" I realize everything is relative. But seriously? You have nothing to look forward to? You are healthy, your husband is healthy, you have a job, family close by...She then apologized and said, "You must be in a slump too." A slump? Is that what losing the love of my life, my best friend, the only person I felt 100% myself with is, a slump? My god.
I'm angry at my family though they have done everything they possibly can to help me. As a couple just out of graduate school and in our early 30s, we weren't prepared for this. My parents came and moved us to their still being built home so we wouldn't have to pay rent. They came to appointments with us. They did everything they could to help us. I live with them now for free. I'm lucky beyond words, but I'm still angry at them. I'm angry they didn't prepare me better; I'm angry that they hover; I'm angry that, even though I know they truly are devastated because they loved Phil like a son, their lives have gone on.
I'm angry at people who tell stories about him or say things that don't quite resemble the Philip I knew. What I've learned through this process is that everyone knew him in a different way--partly by his design and partly by theirs--and that these ways won't always correspond to how I knew him. And that makes me a little angry because I want everyone to have known him like I did because to me he was perfect.
I'm angry that people don't know what to say to me or look at me like I'm a sad Lifetime movie, even though I feel like I am in a sad Lifetime movie. I'm angry that Philip didn't want to get married right away when we found out he was sick. I wanted to be his wife, I wanted his last name despite the circumstances. He wanted to protect me. I understand and am grateful because his way has made the most sense for us. But I'm still angry that I didn't get to make that commitment to him. I'm angry that our future was stolen from us. I'm angry that we din't get to have the baby we always talked about; and that there wasn't more time to say all that I wanted to say; I'm angry that I didn't get to apologize for all the stupid fights and issues. I'm just so damn angry.
There is nothing about anger in my hospice grief pamphlets. I feel like a giant angry monster about 75% of the time. I am not angry with Philip, just at everything else. I pray each night for God to help me deal with this anger, to soften my heart. Some days are better than others, but I just never expected anger to be my go-to emotion. I know it has only been nine weeks and that the anger will probably (hopefully) subside. And maybe the anger is better than not being able to get out of bed each morning...I don't know.
What I do know is that all Philip wanted for me was to be happy. He'd want me to do whatever however I needed to in order to be happy. So I don't want to be angry anymore, but I'm thinking that maybe the anger is part of my way to get to the happy. We will see.