When Anger Comes Knocking

This post was supposed to be for stepparent's week, but I am too agitated to write it

6/6/20244 min read

two bisons fighting head
two bisons fighting head

I have been feeling agitated lately, which is unusual for me. I am one of those people who turn my negative emotions inward. I feel anxious. I feel depressed. But not angry. Never angry. Well, almost never.

When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, I was angry. I mean white hot angry. Something I never remember experiencing before. Keubler-Ross nailed this one.

I yelled, but only when no one was around. The kind of yelling that I am sure is what they called primal screaming in the 80s when that was a big self-help movement. I am not sure why they recommended this. The only thing it left me with was a sore throat.

I hit things. Hard things. Walls and countertops and the ceiling in my car. Again, this just left me feeling sore. And tired. So. Very. Tired.


Which brings me back to this agitation. I am not really used to this. No one is safe. I let my dog in, and the other dog wants in the second — I mean the very second — my ass reconnects with the chair. And I feel agitated. Which is just a mild way of saying angry. And I don’t know where this is coming from.

If you have read my other posts, you know that this has been a shit year, and just the icing on top of the giant pile of crap that has been the last five years. And I think I am angry. I am angry about the unfairness of life. I am angry at myself for feeling this way when there are so many more people who have it so much worse.

My dad died of cancer at the beginning of COVID. The fact that a global pandemic robbed me of spending time with him makes me so, so very angry. Near the end, we were sitting on his front porch talking. I was talking about how so many people were losing so much and how horrible it was.

Knowing that he was going to die but not wanting to say this out loud yet, he told me not to compare myself to others. He told me that the fact that others have it worse does not mean that I do not have it bad too, and not to feel bad for feeling bad. He was preparing me for losing him at the height of a global pandemic, even if he did not say that is what he was doing.

So, I try to remind myself of this. Just because others have it worse never means that we do not have a right to feel the way I feel. This should be a mantra for all of us. My dad was wise.


This week is stepparent’s week, and I had planned to write this lovely post about how wonderful my stepparents are. And how much I love my stepbrothers and their families. This is still true, but I have not been able to write it. I have not really been able to write much of anything. Until I sat down to start writing about how angry I have been lately.

I was going to write this lovely stepparent post on Monday morning, but Sunday night, I got a call from my cousin that my stepmom was in the ER. Her oxygen level is 86. She is weak and can’t get enough breath. She is coughing. We thought she had pneumonia.

Monday morning, instead of writing this post about her, I am making phone calls to check in with her, but I can’t get through. I know she is fine, but part of me jumps back to my dad dying in the hospital four years and a week ago. And my mom dying at home one year ago at the end of this month.

Instead of writing about her, I am obsessing over her health. She has COVID, which is so much better than pneumonia or a third heart attack. But it is stupid. I never think about COVID anymore; none of us do. No one is hospitalized for COVID anymore. But she is still there, four days later, and will be going home with oxygen.


Oh yeah, in honor of stepparent’s week, she is pretty awesome, and I love her. And my stepdad is also great. I am very lucky to have grown up with not only two great parents but with four great parents. Blah, blah, blah.


Back to the agitation/anger/anxiety, whatever this is. Everything sets me off. My husband has been sick from work for several days. And rather than worrying about or trying to care for him, I am snapping at him. And, since I am sure he is reading this. I am sorry. I really am.

And I am angry with myself more than with anyone else. I get irritated with myself because I have so very many things I want to get done, but I don’t do any of them. Because I am feeling too agitated and anxious to get my mind to focus. It is this awful catch-22.

I told myself that I was going to try to write at least one blog post a week (and I really am trying for two). It is Thursday, and as my dad used to say, I haven’t hit a lick. So, I decided that I was not going to worry about my beautiful editorial plan. I did not have to write the stepparents' post. I just had to write. And I was going to post whatever came out.

And this was it. Hope my crazies make you all feel a little saner.