A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
I used to love that conversation about Falling Down, you know that one where you’d ask what it would take to make you explode with anger like the character played by Michael Douglas in the film? He lost it in Whammy Burger when the fast food restaurant wouldn’t serve him breakfast after 11:30, letting rip at the injustice of not being able to get an omelette just because the clock dictated it was time for lunch. Imagining what would make me so mad used to really make me laugh.
Well I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently and it doesn’t make me chuckle anymore, it makes me worry. I’ve been nervous about when it’s going to come. I’ve read the books and I’ve spoken to the experts and they all tell me that anger will come in grief, that it’s to be expected and that it’s normal.
But it hadn’t hit me. ‘What’s wrong with me?’ I asked myself? Why am I not smashing the place up? Why, when I have such a good excuse, have I broken more plates on a Greek holiday than I have in my own home over the last ten weeks?
I was panicking that it might get me on the London Underground, but then I saw a man getting cross about the overcrowding and I laughed. ‘You don’t know you’re born, mate’, I thought. I worried that a waiter would get it if he served me a latte instead of a cappuccino in the local cafe. Most of all I was worried it would hit me like a wave and then wash away the people I loved most in its tide.
That was until Sunday. I opened up the papers hopeful that the message I’ve been trying to spread would have been treated compassionately and could be of genuine help to others. Turns out I got the wrong paper. They opted for sensational rather than sensitive.
And so came the anger, and f*ck me, was it strong?
It’s eaten me up. It’s taken my sleep. It’s brought me down. It’s made me introverted. It’s made me push away the people that I love. I’ve been unreasonable, snappy, impatient and it’s taken my eye off the ball. The positive things achieved this week with the help of others were wasted on me, overshadowed by the anger.
I’ve regretted that I didn’t listen to my instincts when they told me to say no.
I felt sorry that I’d made myself and others feel worse than we already did.
And I felt so damn angry at folk who don’t even care – gluttonous people who order tragedy for dessert when they don’t get their fill on a more than adequate main.
But I’ve used that anger to get what I want. I used that anger to get the truth and I used that anger to (finally) get an apology.
The first try came earlier in the week. It was the weakest of attempts. ‘I’m very sorry you feel that way’, is not an apology for something you’ve done, it’s an expression of regret for the feelings of another.
But I pushed and I got the letter today and it’s more explicit in its acknowledgement of offence. It allows me to move on. It’s brought the anger out in me so I suppose the grief checklist just got another tick.
Gladly, the dark humour in me got a laugh too.
Turns out the guy who called to apologise for how I feel (so actually got away with not apologising over the phone) was the same person who approved the odious headline that made me so mad. Again, this same chap wrote (or at least signed) the letter I received today, which pointed out that the copy contradicts the headline.
While the whole saga has caused me a great deal of distress, I just had to laugh that the person pointing out that the copy contradicts the headline is the same guy who approved it.
So, the title of this post is devoted to that same man. It completely contradicts the copy, but then who gives a shit if it sucks a few more people in?